by Bob Geary
Margaret Schucker, the disabled woman with Occupy Raleigh who wouldn't give up her seat on the sidewalk on that memorable day of October 27 and was summarily arrested for trespass by the Capitol Police, is a free woman. Scott Holmes, her lawyer, says the Wake County District Attorney's office dropped the charge against Schucker before a scheduled court date this morning.
Schucker's case was first set for December, then postponed to January by the DA's office, then to February. Why was it dropped? Unknown; it wasn't done in open court.
"I'm very pleased," Holmes said, "the District Attorney agreed that dismissing the case is what justice required."
Holmes reported that some other cases from the October 27 incident were rescheduled to April 10. He didn't know exactly how many. Seven others were arrested with Schucker when they sat down with her in a show of support and defiance at Capitol Police demands that she get her "stuff"—her chair—off the street. (A tweet from Occupy Raleigh tells me all seven were reset for April 10.)
In a statement, the ACLU of North Carolina hailed the decision as a victory for Schucker's First Amendment right of free speech and of her rights as a disabled person. She required the chair to exercise her rights, the ACLU said, because of a disabling back condition.
Holmes, an lawyer in the Durham firm of Brock, Payne and Meece, is an ACLU-N.C. Legal Foundation cooperating attorney.