Today, Saratoga Springs City Court Judge Francine Vero granted a defense motion on behalf of Jamaica Miles to dismiss in the interest of justice the charges of Unlawful Imprisonment and Disorderly Conduct stemming from an event on July 14, 2021 on Broadway where traffic was blocked and stopped by a group that restricted traffic for more than 10 minutes. During that time, law enforcement received several 911 calls, including one from a motorist who tried, but could not leave to get needed heart medicine, because many, including Jamaica Miles, were blocking his car.
In her decision today, Judge Vero started by noting that “…blocking traffic is a serious matter…” and that with “…respect of the evidence of guilt, there is little question the Defendant’s actions constitute disorderly conduct- the video evidence plainly showing Ms. Miles blocked the path of the Complainant’s car (Penal Law Section 240.20(5))”. The Judge then went on to review the defendant’s background and other factors, which the Judge stated “…weigh heavily in favor of dismissal”.
District Attorney Karen Heggen noted that “Clearly Judge Vero’s decision is based not as much on the facts of the case involving Ms. Miles’ actions on July 14, 2021, but rather on the other factors involved in a motion to dismiss in the interest of justice. This decision is about Ms. Miles background and community involvement and not her actions on July 14, 2021. My office proposed a disposition of a plea to a disorderly conduct that took that background and personal information into account, but was rejected by Ms. Miles. I am not surprised by the Court’s decision today, as the Court, on a prior date, proposed a disposition of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which Ms. Miles rejected. I am concerned that this decision sends the wrong message that someone can violate the law and stop traffic, but if you have a background with involvement in your community and family, that can sway a court to dismiss the charges against you. I believe this may invite others to do the same in the future. My office will review thoroughly the case law cited by the Court to decide if we will seek appellate review of this decision.”