The Matheson Law Office Discusses the Trials as a Result of the Moral Monday Riots in North Carolina

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This article covers the continuing uproar over the Moral Monday protests and raises questions about the use of resources by the North Carolina Justice System.

Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

Raleigh Criminal Attorney M. Moseley Matheson

The uproar over the Moral Monday riots and arrests is still very much in the public eye. More trials are being heard in the North Carolina Justice System every day, and a dozens of them are being dismissed due to lack of video evidence.

The Matheson Law Office is a Criminal Defense Law Firm practicing in Wake County, North Carolina. It is here in Wake County where the Moral Monday protests, arrests and adjudications have taken place. Attorney Matheson has a particular interests in these cases as they pertain to an area of law he enjoys studying and practicing; Constitutional Law. Attorney Matheson has been present for several Moral Monday hearings and trials and has had discussions with the Assistant District Attorneys assigned to prosecute these cases.

The uproar over the Moral Monday protests and arrests is still very much in the public eye. More trials are being heard in the Wake County Justice Center every day, and dozens of them have been dismissed due to lack of video evidence or on other grounds. There have also been arguments made by judges and Wake County Criminal Attorneys alike that citizens were within their rights to protest.

According to an article posted on WRAL News, As a result of the peaceful protest against the Republican Legislation, there have been an estimated 945 total arrests. For many of these cases the Defendants' argument revolves around two points 1. the constitutional rights of the protesters to be heard by the legislators and to assemble in a public place and 2. the laws the Defendants are alleged to have violated are unconstitutionally vague. District Judge Hamilton was quoted in this WRAL article as finding that some of these laws are "vague, over broad and confusing."

In a statement made by Raleigh Criminal Attorney, Moseley Matheson, he had this to say about the Moral Monday dilemma, “For those facing charges as a result of Moral Monday, it can seem as if the state is overreaching their authority in their effort to suppress free speech. What needs to be considered in debating the ethical implications of the arrests is whether their objections would still stand for those whose views are inconsistent with their own. Certainly the argument for free speech must be applied equally regardless of the speaker’s point of view. However, ultimately I believe these arrests have been an inefficient use of judicial resources. Add to that the confusion surrounding the alleged laws that have been violated, it would seem there are no winners in this process.”

"The burden these arrests have created for the Wake County Courthouse is substantial." Says Attorney Matheson According to an article by News and Observer dated September 26, 2013, he District Attorney's office has offered to dismiss the charges against those arrested for some community service and court costs being paid. However, most protesters have instead elected to proceed to trial believing they were within their rights when protesting at the Legislative building. As was recently addressed in this News and Record article from January 22, 2014 titled "Charges Dropped Against Some Moral Monday Protesters," the District Attorney's office dismissed charges against more then 50 protesters from the May 20th arrests due to a lack of evidence.

According to Attorney Matheson, "as the remaining cases proceed, certainly the District Attorney's office must weight their responsibility to try these criminal cases while at the same time balancing the efficient use of judicial resources."

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Moseley Matheson