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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.

R2K LEGAL COLLECTIVE MEDIA ADVISORY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2001


CONTACT:


Kris Hermes, R2K Legal (215) 925-6791


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


Lawrence Krasner, R2K Lawyer (215) 636-9500


http://www.r2kphilly.org





FELONY TRIALS FOR GOP PROTESTERS BEGIN WITH KATE SORENSEN--ACCUSED

"RINGLEADER"






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

dozen

felony trials





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

Convention protests, initially slapped with million bail, will be

going

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

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 ten

days.

Sorensen was originally charged with ten misdemeanors and ten

felonies.

All of the misdemeanors and six felony charges were discharged in

pretrial

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

riot,

risking catastrophe, criminal mischief, and conspiracy.





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

selection

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

the

courtroom of Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe. This

trial is

an example of how law enforcement has been attempting to suppress

people's

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

views and

beliefs.





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





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

13th

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

enforcement

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

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

one

thousand charges thrown out due to acquittal, dismissal, or

withdrawal for

lack of evidence.





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

Watch,

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.

"The

District Attorney must produce evidence that directly points to my

client

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

false

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

felony

defendant Kate Sorensen. "The city of Philadelphia continues to

ignore

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."





--030--





For more info on R2K, see r2kphilly.org
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