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Eye On Boise

Mon., July 21, 2014, 4:07 p.m.

Protesters’ fines, service hours pegged to number of arrests

Many more people have been sentenced this afternoon, all receiving community service and court costs and some small fines for misdemeanor charges stemming from their arrests at protests at the state Capitol this year in favor of amending the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Under agreements previously reached, they’re getting 10 hours of community service for each time they were arrested, so someone with two arrests gets 20 hours of community service plus court costs, and the second charge is dropped. Those arrested only once had their charges dropped. Those with higher numbers of arrests - four or more - also are receiving fines at $10 per arrest, like James Tidmarsh, who was arrested five times, pled guilty to two counts, and received a $50 fine, 50 hours of community service and court costs.

Rebecca Lampman of Bruneau, who described herself as a dairy farmer, a mother and a Girl Scout leader, was arrested twice and received 20 hours of public service plus court costs. “I was told by a neighbor at my home that I should be ashamed for publicly supporting ‘those people,’ but I want you to know that I am not,” she told the court. “Silence solves nothing. In fact, with my three children watching, I’m afraid that they might get the message that this response … is in fact appropriate.” She said, “I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions.”

Roughly two dozen people are being sentenced in this hearing this afternoon, but dozens more already have been sentenced, all receiving their penalties under the same formula. In total, 109 individuals have been sentenced for 192 misdemeanor violations incurred at the protests.

Dan Skinner, the Boise lawyer who organized 20 pro-bono attorneys to represent the arrested protesters, said, "I honestly feel like it's a duty for attorneys to work for civil rights. In my mind this is just a continuation of what happened 50 years ago from a legal perspective."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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