RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a civil rights leader who…
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a civil rights leader who was convicted of trespassing during a 2017 rally inside the legislative building.
The state Supreme Court announced Friday that it had denied the Rev. William Barber II of Goldsboro’s request for justices to review his case and his 2019 trial. The court also granted the state attorneys’ request to dismiss the appeal motion. Barber’s attorney.
The decisions, which come after an Appeals Court ruling in December that also sided with the state, appear to mean Barber’s second-degree burglary conviction is final.
Jurors found Barber guilty after he led a call-and-response chant with about 50 people outside Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office protesting low health care spending.
A Court of Appeals judge wrote that Barber’s free speech rights were not affected by his arrest, stating that “he was not expelled from the General Assembly for the content of his words. He was eliminated because of his volume.”
Barber, a former NAACP state leader who is now president of the national group Repairers of the Breach, said at trial that he was using his “preaching voice” and had a constitutional right to instruct lawmakers.
The Legislative Building rules “prohibit noise loud enough to disrupt conversations and disrupt the ability of legislators and their staff to carry out their duties,” the December opinion says.
Barber received a one-day suspended sentence, unsupervised probation, a $200 fine and 24 hours of community service.
Barber’s attorney wrote to the judges that his client’s case deserved review because it had a significant public interest and involved legal principles related to the First Amendment. Since the opinion of the Court of Appeals was unanimous, the court was not required to hear the case.
A spokesperson for Repairers of the Breach or their attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
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