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District attorney asks justice to dismiss cases ADVERTISEMENT

District attorney asks justice to dismiss cases

READING--Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary will seek the dismissal of more than 100 trespassing cases related to protests at the Crestwood facility along Route 14. Fazzary asked Reading Town Justice Raymond Berry to dismiss 111 cases which are currently pending in the town of Reading court in a letter dated Feb. 10. More than 400 individuals have been arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct at the facility over the past 15 months.
Fazzary made his request to dismiss based upon his review of more than 300 files of photographs, videos, police reports and interviews with witnesses. He noted this also included review of body camera footage from the arresting agency, as well as review of the survey map of the property where the protests took place. The district attorney's investigation revealed there is insufficient evidence to prosecute these 111 individuals for trespassing against Crestwood. The cases to be dismissed occurred between Nov. 20, 2014 and Sept. 10, 2015.
"After completing my review and in keeping with my ethical duties as a prosecutor, it is clear to me that some of the pending cases must be dismissed," Fazzary wrote in his letter to Berry. "The basis for dismissal is that the individuals were either not trespassing on complainant's property or that the evidence of trespass is insufficient."
In some cases, he found that individuals had been arrested for trespassing at Crestwood's south gate. An examination of this gate, a survey map of the area, and interviews with New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, showed that the south gate is actually located on property owned by the State of New York. It was determined through legal counsel for the state DOT that it does not wish to pursue charges against these individuals for trespassing on state lands.
In other cases where arrests were made at the north gate, the evidence showed these individuals were either not trespassing or it could not be determined if they were trespassing. In either event, the charges could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. When many of these arrests took place, "posted" signs had been placed by Crestwood officials on land owned by New York State. Although the signs gave notice to potential trespassers they were about to trespass, they did not clearly mark the line for police officials. Fazzary noted this issue has been remedied.
Fazzary said the motion to dismiss these charges is not intended to suggest he supports the cause of the protesters. As required of his position, he stated he takes no stance on either side of this issue, and this decision is based solely on his evidentiary findings after a full and complete investigation. Fazzary has informed the court he is ready to continue with the prosecution of the nearly 260 cases which will remain pending if the court grants his motion to dismiss.

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