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Attorney Defending Straight Pride Parade Protester Is Held In Contempt Of Court

BOSTON (CBS) – A Boston defense attorney was placed in handcuffs and held in contempt of court Wednesday as she defended one of the Straight Pride Parade protesters.

Judge Richard Sinnott had court officers arrest Attorney Susan Church around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors had recommended that Church's client's charges be dropped, and Church was arguing with the judge over the same issue when she was arrested.

"All I was trying to do was read the law to the court, and I was summarily arrested, handcuffed, [and] brought down to the holding cell," she said.

Susan Church
Attorney Susan Church. (WBZ-TV)

Church was held for more than three hours.

"I sat there wondering if I was going to jail that night or if I'd be able to see my children at dinner that night," she said. "The question has to be why and for what purpose [is the judge doing this] other than a political disagreement with the District Attorney's office?"

Sinnott has already stirred controversy by refusing to drop disorderly conduct charges against more than a dozen protesters, despite prosecutors' requests to do so.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed an emergency petition to the Supreme Judicial Court to order Sinnott to accept her decision to drop charges against the protesters.

Rollins called Sinnott's decision "unprecedented and outrageous."

"His insistence on arraigning individuals when my office has used its discretion to decline a case is an unconstitutional abuse of his power and serves neither the interests of justice nor public safety," District Attorney Rollins said.

Judge Richard Sinnott
Judge Richard Sinnott (WBZ-TV)

Max Stern, who showed up to Boston Municipal Court to represent Church, said the situation is unlike anything he's ever seen.

"Extremely extraordinarily. I've never seen anything quite like this, where someone is shackled and taken away because of an argument that she made," said Stern

After several hours, Judge Sinnott released Church.

"Ms. Church was filled with passion…and kept talking over me," he told the courtroom.

Church's attorney wasn't sure whether or not he will file a complaint.

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