Protest review hearing set

A status review hearing for about 75 NIU students involved in the April 13, Day of Action II protests is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 p.m.

The students were charged with obstructing a highway, which is a traffic offense, for their participation in the sit-in blockade of Lincoln Hwy. The hearing will be held at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

Don Henderson, director of Students’ Legal Assistance and defense attorney for most of the students, said the hearing will decide the status of the pending cases. A decision on the acceptance of changing a guilty plea by 12 of the defendants will be made also.

Henderson said the 12 student clients were advised to enter a “blind” guilty plea Dec. 9 with the understanding the charges filed against the remaining students would be dismissed and not refiled, he said. The students entering the guilty plea would have been assessed a fine and court costs totaling $100 and receive 6 months court supervision.

The change of the guilty pleas is being requested because the DeKalb State’s Attorney Office would not rule out refiling the criminal charges at a later date, he said.

Henderson said that the dismissal of a charge is not the same as an acquittal of a charge, thus allowing the possiblity of refiling the charges.