Watch CBS News

DA Rachael Rollins Asks SJC To Overrule Judge On Protester Arrests

BOSTON (CBS) – Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed an emergency petition requesting the state's highest court order a judge to accept her office's decision to drop charges against some of the protesters arrested at the Straight Pride Parade in Boston.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, prosecutors from Rollins' office attempted to get charges dismissed for protesters charged with disorderly conduct who had no prior record – but Justice Richard Sinnott denied the request and scheduled a pretrial hearing for several defendants.

Rollins called Sinnott's decision "unprecedented and outrageous" in her petition to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Rachael Rollins
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins (WBZ-TV)

"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 in a statement.

There were 36 people arrested at Boston's Straight Pride Parade on Saturday. The charges range from disorderly conduct to assault and battery on a police officer.

Judge Richard Sinnott
Judge Richard Sinnott (WBZ-TV)

"The power to pursue prosecution falls exclusively on the executive branch, not the judiciary," Rollins said. "The judge overstepped his authority here, and only an action of our state's highest court can correct this injustice."

On Wednesday, a defense attorney for one of the protesters was placed in handcuffs and held in contempt of court as she argued with Sinnott about the charges being dropped.

Larry Calderone, the Vice President of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, said they couldn't be happier with Sinnott's decision. "Many officers were assaulted throughout the day, with bottles of urine being thrown at them, bottles of chemicals," Calderone said Tuesday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.