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Judge throws out attempted-kidnapping charges against Aurora protest leaders

Posted at 4:58 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 18:58:55-04

An Adams County judge threw out attempted-kidnapping charges Thursday against three members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation who were arrested for their roles in an Elijah McClain protest last summer outside an Aurora police precinct.

In a rare ruling, Judge Leroy Kirby dismissed the Class 3 felony charges against Lillian House, 26, Whitney Lucero, 23, and Joel Northam, 33, following a preliminary hearing that took place March 9 and 16.

Preliminary hearings are conducted to determine whether there is probable cause to support serious charges, and the standard prosecutors must meet is lower than at a trial. In most cases, judges find there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

“Today’s ruling is a very strong statement that the entire prosecution is flawed,” said attorney Adam Frank, who is representing Lucero.

Aurora police spokesperson Matthew Longshore declined to comment on the ruling because the judicial process is still ongoing. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment.

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