State court denies PRO Gainesville appeal
GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) - A state court in Amarillo denied the appeal of three Gainesville protestors charged during a 2020 march.
They went to court on Wednesday and were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Court documents state that Torrey Henderson, Amara Ridge, and Justin Thompson appealed a lower court decision that found them guilty of obstructing a highway or passageway.
Their attorney presented 11 issues to the state, that included sufficiency of evidence, first amendment privilege, jury charge errors, and failure to excuse juror for cause, and ineffective assistance of counsel.
All 11 issues were over-ruled.
ACLU attorney, Savannah Kumar, sent this statement to News 12: “Texas is less free and less safe after the court found protesters and pedestrians alike can be sentenced to jail for simply moving along a public street without blocking any traffic. For three years now, Ms. Henderson, Ms. Ridge, and Mr. Thompson have had the threat of jail time looming over their lives. The decision is wrong on the law and lacks the evidence to support their convictions. We know the Constitution is on our side. We are exploring all legal options at this time.”
The defendants are part of PRO Gainesville, a group that organized multiple marches for the removal of a confederate statue at the Cooke County Courthouse.
During a march in August of 2020, some protestors moved off of the sidewalk and onto the street, they said it was to avoid a puddle, and they plead not-guilty to the obstruction charge.
In a 2022 trial, all three were convicted and sentenced to seven days in jail and a fine of 2,000 dollars for a misdemeanor.
They appealed the decision and that appeal was denied.
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