NAACP won't agree to Moral Monday plea bargains

A protestor is handcuffed during a "Moral Monday" event at the North Carolina General Assembly

August 29, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Plea bargains that would avoid hundreds of trials for Moral Monday protestors arrested at the North Carolina General Assembly appeared to hit a stumbling block Friday when the North Carolina NAACP said it will oppose them.

The Wake County District Attorney's Office has offered plea agreements to some 940 protestors charged with violation of building rules, failure to disperse, and trespassing. The DA's office has expressed concern that trying all the cases separately will clog up the court system and cost taxpayers.

It's offering to dismiss the charges in return for an admission of wrongdoing, completing 25 hours of community service, and payment of $180 in court costs.

The NAACP said Friday that the decision to accept the deal is a personal one for each protestor, but it will not advocate taking them. Pro bono attorneys are offering to represent the protestors if they want to go to trial.

"We understand and endorse the moral and political power that over 940 people might bring to their communities from doing the community service.  But we do not support the extracting of admissions of wrongdoing and the payment of a ransom in the form of court cost for engaging in actions that are clearly protected by our Constitution," said the NAACP in a statement.

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