Protesters Arrested After Sit-in At The Home of Kentucky Attorney General
On July 14, 2020, 87 people were arrested for conducting a sit-in demonstration at the home of Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron. The protestors were demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed earlier this year allegedly by Louisville Metro Police Officers and whose death has sparked ongoing protests. The Kentucky Attorney General is overseeing the investigation into Taylor’s death.
The protestors who were arrested at Cameron’s residence were charged with intimidating a participant in the legal process, trespassing, and disturbing the disorderly conduct. The most serious of these charges is intimidating a participant in the legal process, which is a Class D felony under Kentucky law. A Class D felony carries a penalty range of 1 to 5 years in prison. Many people reading the news may wonder what it means legally to intimidate a participant in the legal process and whether the protestors could be found guilty.
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 524.040, a person is guilty of intimidating a participant in the legal process when, by use of physical force or a threat directed to a person he believes to be a participant in the legal process, he or she:
* Influences, or attempts to influence, the testimony, vote, decision, or opinion that person.
* Induces, or attempts to induce, that person to avoid legal process summoning him or her to testify;
* Induces, or attempts to induce, that person to absent himself or herself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned;
* Induces, or attempts to induce, that person to withhold a record, document, or other object from an official proceeding;
* Induces, or attempts to induce, that person to alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
* Hinders, delays, or prevents the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of information relating to the possible commission of an offense or a violation of conditions of probation, parole or release pending judicial proceedings.
The term “Participant in the legal process” means any judge, prosecutor, attorney defending a criminal case, juror, or witness and includes members of the participant’s immediate family. KRS 524.010(3).
The term “Physical Force” means force used upon or directed toward the body of another person and includes confinement. KRS 503.010(4).
The term “Threat” means any direct threat to kill or injure a person protected by this chapter or an immediate family member of such a person. KRS 524.010(8). To be guilty of intimidating a participant in the legal process, the threat is limited to physical injury and not economic or other non-physical injuries. Godby v. Commonwealth, 187 S.W.3d 857 (Ky. App. 2005).
The allegation against the protestors is that they were attempting to influence the Attorney General’s decision on the Breonna Taylor case through intimidation whether that intimidation was the use of physical force or a threat. Therefore, to be found guilty of these charges, the Commonwealth must prove that the protestors:
(1) believed the Attorney General was a participant in the legal process;
(2) attempted to influence his decision or opinion;
(3) by the use of physical force directed to his person or to his immediate family or threatened him with physical injury; and
(4) the use of physical force or threat has a reasonable nexus with the legal process.
See Edmunds v. Commonwealth, 433 S.W.3d 309, 320-21 (Ky. 2014). The essence of the offense is coercion. KRS 524.040; Kentucky Crime Commission/LRC Commentary (1974). It is unclear whether the Commonwealth will be able to produce sufficient facts to prove that the protestors used physical force directed against the person of Attorney General Cameron or his family or whether the protestors threatened him with physical injury. A review of the livestreamed events did not seem to bare this out. Additionally, were the protestors really even trying coerce the Attorney General by threats and force or were they really just speaking out and calling for justice to be served for all the members of the community?
As in any other criminal case, the Commonwealth must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury may convict you. This is a very high bar to meet, and Ron Aslam will present your best arguments for why the prosecutors have failed to do this. Ron himself is a former Kentucky prosecutor he has the experience and skills to find the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
With all this at stake, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will put your strongest defense forward in your case, negotiate with prosecutors and police, and defend your freedom and interests. Louisville criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Ron Aslam has the experience and skills to fight the charges against you and work towards the best possible outcome.
Ron has years of experience in getting the best results for his clients. Whether through winning a not guilty verdict or reduced sentence, negotiating a favorable plea agreement, or working to end a criminal investigation, he has the proven results you want in a criminal defense attorney, and he can put his skills and experience to work for you in fighting the charges against you.
Contact Louisville Attorney Ron Aslam Today
If you have been charged with intimidating a participant in the legal process, you could be facing serious criminal penalties. Call Louisville criminal defense attorney Ron Aslam today at 502.581.1676 today to begin the process of defending your freedom.