Clock tower protester slapped on wrist

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The saga of UA clock tower protester Abel Duffy may have finally come to a close Friday morning, when he was sentenced for trespassing.

Justice of the Peace Emojean Girard sentenced Duffy to 12 months of unsupervised probation and a $300 fine, which can be substituted by 60 hours of community service. Duffy is not to return to the University of Arizona during the probation period, except to retrieve the banners that he hung from the tower during his protest. The UA was ordered to return the banners to Duffy.

Pima County Deputy Attorney Todd Wilson asked the court to give Duffy a $250 fine and 24 months unsupervised probation. However, Duffy's attorney, Paul Gattone, argued that Duffy had to come to court nine times for the proceedings and had not been arrested for anything since the incident last February.

"Not returning to the UA is kind of an excessive provision, but Judge Girard is fair," Gattone said. "We feel it is a fair sentence, and Abel is just glad that it's all over now. We're pleased that the judge ruled that the UA shouldn't have gotten restitution."

On Wednesday, Girard ruled that the UA is not entitled to restitution for the costs incurred during Duffy's protest, including extra police, putting up barricades and damage to the tower during Duffy's six-day protest.

"The judge agreed that to give restitution in this case when there is political protest activity is selective prosecution," Gattone said.

UA attorney Tom Thompson said Thursday that he guesses that the county attorney will appeal the ruling.

However, Gattone said "we were in court (Friday) morning and he didn't give any indication that he would but knowing how this has gone, I would expect that they might.

"They've tried everything they could to try to make this as outrageous as possible," he said. "In this instance, they weren't able to manipulate the court process to chill the expression of first amendment rights. I'd hope that they'd just drop it."

Beth Harper, court clerk, said based on discussion in the courtroom, "It doesn't sound like there's going to be (an appeal)."

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