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Wake County DA Offers Plan For Arrested Protesters

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File photo of a person in handcuffs. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a person in handcuffs. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Wake County’s district attorney has proposed deferred prosecution for the more than 900 people arrested during the series of Moral Monday protests at the N.C. Legislature.

District Attorney Colon Willoughby is proposing that the protesters perform 25 hours of community service and pay $180 in court costs. After that, the charges will be dropped.

Willoughby said the proposal is similar to how his office handled the Occupy Raleigh protesters. He said it’s an option that his office uses in thousands of cases that involve non-violent offenses.

“I think it’s a fairness issue. The responsibility of the district attorney is to administer justice evenhandedly,” Willoughby said Monday. “Some of these folks may take this opportunity and do it and some may plead not guilty and try their cases.”

So far, Willoughby said some people have taken him up on the idea and begun their community service. He said some protesters may have their cases dismissed more quickly if they choose to take the offer.

The weekly protests attracted thousands to the Legislative Building and government complex during the just-concluded session.

The story was first reported by WRAL in Raleigh.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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