Bath Protesters' Convictions Overturned

Reader Elmer sends today's Corning Leader story documenting yesterday's reversal of the convictions of five protesters who occupied Randy Kuhl's Bath office in August, 2007. Money quote:

[Judge Marianne] Furfure ruled Kuhl’s office was the public office of an elected official with no signs or public access restrictions. In addition, the trespass did not meet the standard for the misdemeanor charges because it did not occur in an area “fenced or otherwise enclosed ... to exclude intruders,” she said.

Attorney Ray Schlather, the legal advisor for the protesters, said the push by the county District Attorney’s office to make the offense “a fingerprintable crime” showed a lack of judgment and allowed the protesters to turn the charges into political theater.

“This should never gone before a jury,” Schlather said. “That lack of good judgment effectively played into the protesters’ hands.”

Readers might recall that a similar protest at Kuhl's Fairport office was defused when a clever policeman invited the protesters outside and locked the door behind them. If the Bath PD and Steuben County prosecutor had exercised the same good judgment, Steuben County taxpayers would have been spared the tens of thousands of dollars it cost to litigate this innocuous little sit-in.


Judge Furfare showed some real courage, in my opinion, handing down (up?) an opinion like that in rural Steuben. She always has been pretty darn solid (came out of Corning, I believe).

I wish I could give out some personal information on Judge Furfure but I won't. You'll just have to take my word that she is not only a solid judge but also a wonderful person.

Oh yes---I heard that from friends before. I think she upset the then-favored GOP candidate in the primary for Judge a few years ago, in part due to her good reputation.