Fifteen of 17 people arrested on April 29 inside the Legislative Building went before Wake County District Court Judge Dan Nagle on charges that they failed to disperse when asked by the General Assembly police. The protesters also were charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.
The Rev. William Barber, the head of the state NAACP and chief architect of the weekly demonstrations outside the General Assembly chambers, was among the group. They pleaded not guilty and asked for the cases to be dismissed. The group mounted legal challenges that could test the limits of restrictions that General Assembly police can put on people assembling peacefully inside the government building.
Demonstrators have said they were exercising their First Amendment rights, voicing their dissatisfaction with the agenda of the Republican-led General Assembly. Nagle did not hear the legal challenges in the packed courtroom on Monday. He set the cases to be heard in late September.
He said to make a decision on the merits of the claims, he needed to hear facts of the case and be able to weigh the challenges with what was going on at the time of the arrests. More here.