Cirignano trial: morning 2

posted by Mike on October 18th, 2007

Bay Windows report on day 1.

T&G’s Dianne Williamson does her thing:

At another point, Mr. Gilleran claimed that Mr. Nangle was “very interested” in the story, as though a news account about a protester who bruised her elbow at a rally would catapult a reporter to the editorial pages of The New York Times.

A guy was fixing the courtroom doors this morning, while the lawyers and judge were discussing things inside.

Me, looking at the doors: “Yesterday they were so loud.”

Workman: “Well, they’re not anymore!”

The lawyers were discussing something with the judge about where Sarah Loy held her sign. Will Bay Windows reporter Ethan Jacobs have to take the stand? No.

The defense lawyer is going to try to impeach Loy over some of these details, it seems. Does her testimony of where she held the sign contradict what the Bay Windows article says she said?

There’s also issue with a (Globe?) article which says she said she was the only gay-marriage-supporter who entered the crowd.

Defense wants to use the transcript of the probable cause hearing. This is related to the civil rights charge. Judge will look into it.

Judge: “How many witnesses do you have?”

ADA: “Four. They should be relatively fast.”

Judge: “Nothing in this has been fast.”

Judge says defense can use testimony from prior hearings to jog her memory, but not substantively.

(Be aware that I’m not a lawyer or law buff, and may very well be using legal terms wrong.)

There are fewer Cirignano supporters there this morning than yesterday, and more people are taking trial notes.

First witness of the day is the return of…

Sarah Loy

Was she the only one to venture into the group? She’s not sure. (This is about that article.)

She thinks Cirignano’s conduct was hateful, but opposition to gay marriage is not necessarily motivated by hate.

Redirect: Her turning around was quick, and she doesn’t know exactly what happened with hands and shoulders. She doesn’t remember everything she and Sgt Wells said. She was upset at the time.

Recross: From probable cause hearing–“You can’t, y’know, you’re not allowed to go in there.” Defense shows her the transcript.

Redirect: Shows her the transcript. Defense doesn’t want it read aloud, but the judge says OK. “And I thought they meant you can’t go on the step.” So she reads the larger chunk.

Sgt George Wells, Worcester Police Department

This is the bald, shortest policeman involved. Community Impact Unit. He was there to oversee the police detail. Jack Murray and Paul Maki were under him there. Responsibility: “Make sure that nobody caused any disturbances, fighting, anything like that.” What did he do to the two groups? “Just monitor them.”

“I had to separate a group to leave room on the sidewalk for people to pass by.”

He had someone stop beating a drum because they had no sound permit, and the person complied.

Saw Loy when she was on the ground, crying. She told him she wasn’t injured. She was upset and kept asking for Cirignano to be arrested.

Wells approached Cirignano. C said “She got too close, I was concerned, so I pushed her away.”

Cross: “I separated people in the groups. I didn’t separate the groups. I didn’t distinguish…”

He didn’t speak to the detective who wrote the police report. The detective’s report seems to think the cops separated people by political affiliation, but Wells says that’s not what they did.

Didn’t she want to go past him afterwards? Yes. and he blocked her. He won’t say that she wanted to re-enter the main rally.

Did she identify the person who pushed her? No.

Did Cirignano tell Wells he “didn’t push her hard enough to knock her down”? No.


I think Wells is damn good under cross-examination. He’s shot down several of the defense’s assumptions about how the police were operating that day. Sounds like things were as they were at every demo I’ve been at City Hall, with police doing their best to maintain order without interfering with anything.

Back to the witness. Murray talked to several witnesses. Wells didn’t.

Did Ron “ACLU” Madnick approach him? Doesn’t remember.

RM did approach the group Murray was with while Murray was talking to witnesses.

Some business about where the cops were.

Were there counter-protestors on the stairs? No. The officers did move somebody off the stairs.

Redirect: How did he end up talking to Cirignano? Somebody in the crowd pointed him out.

John “Jack” Murray, Worcester police officer

Taller policeman, with a shaved head. (These details are just so people looking at the Indymedia photos can figure out who these guys are.)

Central Division. Downtown foot beat.

Was working the rally. First saw Loy when she was “laying on the sidewalk.” Spoke to Cirignano at the rally after Cirignano talked to Wells. Cirignano said he saw Loy was backing towards the podium and “lightly pushed her with one hand.”

Spoke to Loy after she got up and talked to Wells.

The Indymedia pix of the event are brought up again.

Cross-examination. Murray took notes of what Cirignano said. Defense shows Murray the notes. Did Cirignano say this about lightly pushing her on the shoulder? In fact didn’t he say he “lightly pushed her on the shoulder once”? Yes.

Didn’t he say it was with one hand? Yes. Did he say that in the other hand he had something? No recollection. During the interview afterwards he did have something in his hand.

Loy stated at the time that she had no injury, and looked uninjured.

(Ron Madnick is sitting next to me shuffling papers, making it hard to hear.) Defense tries to bring something about Ron Madnick into the discussion, but there’s an objection and he drops it.

Detective Daniel Sullivan of the Worcester police

Bigger policeman, with hair.

Part of the follow-up investigations. He was the on-call detective the day after the incident. He interviewed people, took telephone calls, went to City Hall Plaza much later to measure the scene. Has people look at a photo “produced by one of the independent media outlets” (Indymedia, baby) and describe the details of the scene.

Used asphalt patches as reference points.

(I still have no idea what this Kennedy-assasination-like obsession with measurements and crowd positioning is all about.)

The ADA keeps starting questions, then asking for them to be stricken.

Crowd started more than 19′ from the podium.

Cross: From the first step to the podium was ten feet.

Sullivan prepared an incident narrative report. Defense shows him the report. Wants witness to read a section. Objection.

Sidebar. Ethan Jacobs from Bay Windows is back, as is some reporter I don’t know.

Without reading it aloud, Sullivan asked to look at the last sentence of the second paragraph. What were the info sources? “I have no recollection exactly who told me that.” Did he speak to the police who were on the scene? Only Murray, but in general, not about specifics. Murray was the only one he spoke to who was there that day, so he admits the info had to come from him.

Stuart Floyd

Younger guy, software developer, master’s from WPI.

Was a pro-gay-marriage demonstrator. Held a sign at the event. Was standing on the sidewalk listening to the main rally’s speakers.

Was on the opposite side of the semi-circle and saw Loy breach the circle. She walked to the center bottom stair, then stepped down. He was able to read her sign, so she was facing the audience.

He thinks she was there less than a minute. Her sign was at chest level. Saw a man come to her from near the podium and put his hands on her. Recalls hands reaching out, and touching her shoulder/upper back. Some struggle between the lawyers to get him to state exactly where she was touched.

Saw them walking briskly to the audience and she fell. He was behind her, directing her motion.

When she fell he was focused on Loy, and didn’t notice what Cirignano did.

Witness leaves box and he and the prosecutor reenact the positioning. (I wish Sarah Loy and the defense lawyer had done this, because he was making all these physically-impossible assumptions about arm positioning and nobody called him on it.)

Cross-examination. They establish where he was on the diagram. Can he see himself in photos? No, people are in the way.

Police told him that as long as he stayed below the steps, it was fine. He was within the north arm of the crowd.

Did Cirignano have anything in his hands? Not that the witness can recall.

Defense tries over and over to misunderstand his description of the movements. Judge has him leave the witness box and point to things on the diagram.

Did he see Loy fall? No.

Lots of business about exactly what he saw.

(One observer, who’s been to many more trials than I, thought this guy was an atrocious witness. I didn’t feel so strongly.)

The government rests its case.

The defense makes a motion about something, and we take a break.

After the break, there is a motion about the constitutional rights in regard to a permit. People who enter a permitted demo with a contrary message aren’t exercising a right. So Loy didn’t have a free speech right in that area.

The defense wants all the charges dismissed.

ADA cites the Hurley case. Can you “self-help” to maintain your permit area?

Judge separates out the two charges. According to case law, if you have a permitted rally, you have a right to exclude the opposing message. “It seems from case law that the appropriate response is that the police remove the opposing person.”

Judge thinks that case law means police can remove an opposing message.

Judge isn’t convinced she had a right to hold her sign in that area.

The civil rights charge is dismissed.

Defense wants to show a video of part of the rally, but the prosecution says that now that there’s no civil rights charge, what’s the point? They’ll work this out over lunch.

Defense calls its first witness of the day…

John Murray

He’s back. Shows him incident narrative report. Murray confirms he spoke to Sullivan. Has him silently read a paragraph. He doesn’t remember telling Sullivan about this specific bit.

Clarifies that they were trying to open the sidewalk, not divide people politically. If there was one big group, and they all stayed to one side of the sidewalk, that would be OK.

(I think this guy is a personable witness.)

Lauren McCarthy

This girl is wearing her school uniform. She was at the rally, saw Loy come toward her, trip over McCarthy’s foot, and fall.

McCarthy is 5’9″, size 11 shoe.

Went to the rally with her mom, and arrived before it started.

Can she be seen ion photos? Yes. She is the one in purple, and her mom is in the red jacket.

Loy zig-zagged toward her, turned, her mom pushed McCarthy out of the way, but her foot remained and Loy tripped over her left foot.

Didn’t see anyone pushing her.

After Loy fell, Loy came up and looked around, then went back down and started chanting “This is what hatred is.”

Loy came towards the crowd facing them, and only turned at the last second, took a step, and tripped.

Cross examination. Establish that she’s the middle child. She was standing three-people deep into the crowd.

Nicole Alarie

Another girl wearing her school uniform. She went to the rally with her father and history teacher.

She leaves the stand to point out where she was on the diagram. My previous assumption, that the defense lawyer was so bad at positioning people on the diagram because he was trying to confuse the witnesses, seems to be wrong. This guy is just bad at expressing spatial position verbally.

Saw Cirignano escorting her to the edge of the crowd. He was touching her with his right arm against her left arm, between the elbow and shoulder. His left hand must have been at his side, because NA couldn’t see it. He was a pace away when she fell, moving away from the crowd.

She didn’t hear Loy say anything.

Cross: Establishes her age and position at the rally. She was at the outer edge of the group. Her father and history teacher were in another area.

Jack Hartzman

Photographer from Maryland who specializes in corporate events. Defines the role of an advance man/VIP liason as a liason between clients and VIP. Also escorts the VIP around, connects them with people, etc. Hartzman has worked with Cirignano at events for 7 years. Has discussed Cirignano’s work with others in the field. It’s sensitive work. You have to be level-headed, quick thinking, poised, good people skills. “He’s the best that I work with.” Also: “These are multi-million dollar companies that we both work for.”

Cirignano is level-headed, not aggressive.

Cross: Have you seen people act out of character? Yes.

Were you in Worcester for this rally? No.

Henry Chajet

Attorney for law firm in DC. Partner in Patton Boggs. OSH and enviro law work. Walks with a limp. (I just mention these details for people who were there for part of the trial, and saw these guys without knowing who they were.)

Met Cirignano in the early 80s when LC was a regulator at Dept of Labor. (I think.) Friends since.

“I’m a Jewish liberal guy.” A Reform Jew. Does not agree with Cirignano on social issues.

Cirignano has a reputaion for being peaceful.

Cross: Is Cirignano a lawyer? Yes. And you’re a lawyer? Yes.


Establish his age. Have you seen or heard of people acting out of character? Yes. Doesn’t generally think they do.

ADA is kinda disorganized.

Yes, he’s heard of people acting out of character. Doesn’t believe Cirignano would act out of character. (ADA doesn’t point out that the whole point of “acting out of character” is that someone does what you wouldn’t believe they would do.)

Was he in Worcester for the rally? No.

Early lunch break. Defense wants to show video and call another character witness, then 4-5 more witnesses.

Correction: Maki’s name was misspelled in the original.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On October 19, 2007 at 23:26 Bernadette O'Connor said:

    You have truth and integrity on your side. Justice is all you need. All of us who know you are praying for justice.

    Bernadete and Jim

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