The Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports prosecutors this morning dropped trespassing charges against 18 people arrested in a Jewish-led "Never Again" protest at the ICE detention facility at the South Bay jail last evening.
Before the 18 - a number chosen by protest organizers for arrest because of its "good luck/long life" significance in Hebrew - could be arraigned in Roxbury Municipal Court, prosecutors filed "nolle prosequi" forms formally dropping the charges and leaving them with clean records.
Under previous DA Dan Conley, prosecutors would typically ask for "continuances without a finding" for peaceful protesters, under which the protesters would have their records cleared if they stayed out of trouble for a few months.
In a statement, the DA's office said:
Each of the defendants was charged with trespassing; none had any prior criminal convictions. The decision to file a nolle prosequi in these cases was based on prosecutors’ review of the facts of each case and the policies of this office. This decision is in accordance with District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ approach to such offenses and is also closely aligned with the handling of similar cases under District Attorney Rollins’ predecessors.
“As shown by our recent successful effort in getting an injunction to prevent ICE from undertaking civil arrests in Massachusetts courthouses, I believe that challenges to ICE’s actions are most effectively effectuated in court,” District Attorney Rollins said. “The protestors’ peaceful challenge of the inhumane detention policies of the Trump administration is protected by the First Amendment."