Peace Protestors ask for trial - Won't be prosecuted

Rifkin, Thacher, Turco, Risch had waived pre-trial conference, opted for trial

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A large group of peace protesters gathered outside Barnstable District Court today as the four defendants were about to enter for a pre-trial conference on a civil disobedience charge. Paul Rifkin photo.

Charge of civil disobedience won't be prosecuted by DA

By Tr0y Clarkson, Special to Cape Cod TODAY

Local peace activists Sarah Thacher, Diane Turco, Mike Risch and Paul Rifkin  from a March 20 arrest for trespassing in the office of U.S. Rep. William Delahunt made an appearance in Barnstable District Court this morning.

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Defendants Rifkin (with his ubiquitous "V" for victory finger sign), Turco, Thacher and Risch, await the decision from Judge O'Neill, but the DA chose caution over valor, or no bad press over the opposite, and decided not to prosecute.
Appearing before Judge W.J. O'Neill, the four co-defendants opted to waive the pre-trial conference to negotiate a settlement and opted to schedule a trial for their civil disobedience.

"Nolo prosequi" - DA elects to skip the publicity

Likely aided by an effort to avoid the publicity of a trial, the wheels of justice then began to spin swiftly. Local attorney Arthur Riley stepped in to provide pro-bono services and the District Attorney's Office offered a declaration of "nolo prosequi," meaning the DA declined to prosecute further. Paul and his co-defendants were free to go, ending their journey to peace and public awareness without any courtroom theater.

Before the court appearance, the four peacefully protested outside the courthouse with 30 anti-war activists, including many who regularly attend the Saturday morning peace vigils in Falmouth and other supporters from as far away as Boston and Provincetown. After the day's events, Rifkin lamented the disposition, as he was looking forward to the opportunity for the trial to provide a wide venue for his anti-war message.

Defendent disappointed, Debate to follow in Falmouth
"They pulled the rug right from under us" Paul Rifkin

Rifkin said his next step in pursuit of peace will be to follow the next supplemental war appropriation as it ambles its way through Congress. In addition, he is organizing a public forum and debate on the war on terror and has enlisted a hawkish adversary, the writer of this piece and former Falmouth Selectman Troy Clarkson,  to offer an alternative viewpoint."

Read the story about their arrest in the congressman's office here.

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