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Officials call recent Capitol protest judicial ruling helpful and hurtful for crack down

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Protestors yell outside of the office of Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker after the signing of the ceremonial bill, after the Republican-controlled House and Senate eliminated almost all collective bargaining for most public workers, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck
Protestors yell outside of the office of Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker after the signing of the ceremonial bill, after the Republican-controlled House and Senate eliminated almost all collective bargaining for most public workers, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State officials say a recent ruling by a Madison judge will both help and hurt their efforts to crack down on loud protests in the State Capitol.

Police have been trying to get protestors to get permits for their activities at the Capitol – but the Solidarity Singers have refused to go along.

Dane County Circuit Judge Circuit Judge Julie Genovese says the rule that requires state permits only applies to those who “conduct” things rallies and protests. And because Jason Huberty was merely singing with the group, the judge said the rule didn’t apply to him – and she dropped his final citations.

Stephanie Marquis of the state Administration Department says the judge’s decision may result in some citations being dismissed while, “other cases are strengthened.”

Capitol Police have issued around 120 citations for protest activities without permits.

The Madison Capital Times says those who’ve actually conducted the daily sing-alongs by the Solidarity Singers may be in the biggest trouble. And Brandon Barwick could be the one hurt the most.

He faces 21 citations, plus two others not related to his conducting. The potential fines run up to $4,600 – with extra penalties possible. A trial on five of Barwick’s citations is set for February 27th. 

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