ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Protesters arrested over the weekend in Rockford have filed a class-action lawsuit against 17th Circuit Court Judge Eugene Doherty, Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana and Winnebago County, alleging they were denied their Fourth Amendment right to a timely probable cause hearing.
The lawsuit cites a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that detainees have a right to a probable cause hearing within 48 hours of their arrest.
The 17th Judicial Court operates Monday through Friday, so the lawsuit claims the protesters were held 66 hours before they were granted a court appearance.
The suit seeks to have the policy declared unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by Chicago attorneys Adele Nicholas and Brad Thompson in the United States District Court on behalf of Dylan Mitchell, 26, Dayna Schultz, 23, Larissa Walston, 23, Michael Riggs, 20, and Ivan Holland, 25.
“Individuals were advised prior to any arrests being made that they were to disperse,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross of the Friday arrests. “They did not disperse and impeded traffic.”
“The citizens of Rockford, the businesses of Rockford have been more patient over the last couple of weeks, actually months, of tolerating people who want to push the envelope right to the end,” said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea. “Now, they’ve crossed the line and they’re going to get arrested.”
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