Acquitted

Speaking of Austin, on a telephone pole along one of the streets in the central part of the city that I drive on frequently is a sign by a disgruntled resident that says, “Slow down, this ain’t Round Rock.” For the sophisticated, urbane urbanite, Round Rock, which is about 30 miles north of Austin, is the symbol for all that is wrong with the world: reactionary, stupid, boorish, and uncultured, the repository of all rural sensibility. Which is the way of letting the world know that the Austinite is the opposite of all those things.

Anyway, that’s all preface to the following piece of good news out of Round Rock. An hour-and-a-half deliberation means that the hicks never thought about conviction for a second. This while the progressives in Austin fret over the invading criminal hordes.

Irvin DeLuna, 15, of Round Rock–the first student to go on trial on charges stemming from participation in a nationwide immigration protest in May–was found not guilty on Nov. 3. His trial took place in Round Rock Municipal Court, with the jury deliberating an hour and a half. Austin attorney Travis Williamson, on behalf of the Texas Civil Rights Project, defended DeLuna, assisted by Ernest Saadiq Morris and Michael Rodriguez, also of TCRP. “The students had the courage to stand up for their rights, and the jury vindicated DeLuna,” said TCRP director Jim Harrington. Morris said the curfew ordinance has a built-in protection for students exercising their right of free speech. The city has dismissed about a fourth of the cases, Morris noted, due to lack of evidence. About a fourth remain. Prosecutor for the city of Round Rock was Susan Camp-Lee, who was not available for comment. Will Hampton, communications director for the city, declined to comment on specifics of the case. Nine other cases have dates assigned through next May. Because these are jury trials, Morris and other attorneys are making themselves available to defend cases pro bono. More than 200 students received citations for violating curfew or causing a disruption–or, as in DeLuna’s case, for both. “We feel they made an example of DeLuna,” Morris said.

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