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Felony Trials for GOP Protesters Begin With Kate Sorensen-- Accused "Ringleader"

by R2K Legal Saturday, Mar. 03, 2001 at 9:31 PM
info@r2kphilly.org 215-925-6791

Kate Sorensen, a long-time organizer and member of the AIDS activist group, ACT UP Philadelphia, was arrested on August 1, 2000, held on million bail, later reduced to 0,000, and kept in jail for 10 days. She will stand trial this week on four felony charges: riot, risking catastrophe, criminal mischief, and conspiracy.




Kris Hermes, R2K Legal (215) 925-6791

Kate Sorensen, ACT UP Philadelphia (215) 476-3585

Lawrence Krasner, R2K Lawyer (215) 636-9500




Jury trial to begin Tuesday, March 6th at 9:00AM in Room 707 of the

Criminal Justice Center (13th & Filbert Sts) is the first of nearly a


felony trials

Kate Sorensen, of ACT UP Philadelphia, and a defendant from the GOP

Convention protests, initially slapped with million bail, will be


to trial Tuesday, March 6th through Thursday, March 8th. Sorensen is

defending herself against charges of "Riot," "Risking Catastrophe,"

"Criminal Mischief," and "Conspiracy." Sorensen, an accused protest

"ringleader" was originally charged with ten felonies.

WHO: Kate Sorensen, a long-time organizer and member of the AIDS


group, ACT UP Philadelphia, was arrested on August 1, 2000, held on

million bail, later reduced to 0,000, and kept in jail for ten


Sorensen was originally charged with ten misdemeanors and ten


All of the misdemeanors and six felony charges were discharged in


hearings. She will stand trial this week on four felony charges:


risking catastrophe, criminal mischief, and conspiracy.

WHAT: Sorensen is utilizing her right to a jury trial with jury


to happen on the first day. Sorensen's defense will take place in


courtroom of Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe. This

trial is

an example of how law enforcement has been attempting to suppress


right to speak out and how activists are being targeted for their

views and


WHEN: Tuesday, March 6th at 9:00AM through Thursday, March 8th

WHERE: Room 707 of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center (CJC) at


and Filbert Streets

WHY: Due to the high level of Sorensen's bail, and claims by law

enforcement that she was a "ringleader," her story is particularly

compelling. Her case is another form of over-reaction by law


and the judicial system. Sorensen's case is indicative of the

over-prosecution of hundreds of activists that have already had over


thousand charges thrown out due to acquittal, dismissal, or

withdrawal for

lack of evidence.

Allyson Collins of the Washington, DC-based group, Human Rights


argues that the "allegations of excessively harsh treatment,

including the

high bail amounts set for many of those arrested, have a chilling

effect on

those who wish to express their views and exercise their right to

free speech"

"This is a war on dissent," says Sorensen's lawyer, Lawrence Krasner.


District Attorney must produce evidence that directly points to my


committing a crime. So far, the prosecution has only come up with


accusations and outlandish claims. This case is a fraud and a

disgrace to

the people of this city"

"Over ninety percent of the RNC cases have been dropped," exclaims


defendant Kate Sorensen. "The city of Philadelphia continues to


that they failed to handle the convention protests with integrity and

honor. In an effort to serve the interest of the sponsors of the

RNC, the

city committed itself to tactics of violence, intimidation, and civil

rights violations."


For more info on R2K, see r2kphilly.org
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