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Judge orders attorney for Straight Pride protester arrested while in court



Image source: Twitter video screenshot

Authorities arrested a Boston-based defense attorney on Wednesday, who was held in contempt of court while defending her client.

Her client was one of the protesters arrested during the Straight Pride Parade on Saturday.

What are the details?

Susan Church, an immigration attorney, was handcuffed and remanded to a jail cell after she protested against Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard Sinnott's decision to reject prosecutors' recommendations to dismiss the disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges that were laid against her client.

According to WBUR-TV, Church was arguing case law, which supported the decision to avoid pursuing charges against the client. Church argued that Sinnott didn't have authority to reject the prosecution's decision not to prosecute many of the counterprotesters.

Sinnott told the courtroom that while Church was clearly "filled with passion," she "kept talking over me," WBZ-TV reported.

The day before Church's arrest, Sinnott rejected the Suffolk County district attorney's office motions to drop charges against many of the counterprotesters at the rally.

After her arrest, Church issued a statement on the incident.

"I was just released after being unlawfully and unreasonably and honestly outrageously arrested for simply doing my job — for advocating for a client who the District Attorney's office wanted to dismiss her charges," she explained. "The law is absolutely clear that the District Attorney's office has the right to do that, the judge objected. The law is also absolutely clear that the judge doesn't have a reject it."

"All I was trying to do was to read the law to the court and I was summarily arrested, handcuffed, brought down to the holding cell and held there for hours," she said, and revealed concerns that her arrest could set a dangerous precedent.

"My biggest concern is this doesn't have a chilling effect for all the other lawyers out there who are fighting the good fight, and who are representing people and doing their jobs," she added. "This was outrageous behavior."

'Never seen anything quite like this...'

Church's attorney, Max Stern, told reporters that her arrest was unprecedented.

"She wasn't disruptive — at all — and she was let out of the courtroom in shackles," Stern said. "This is extremely extraordinary. Never seen anything quite like this, where someone is shackled and taken away because of an argument that she made."

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