ANNAPOLIS, MD — On August 22, at the behest of the State’s Attorney Office, Judge Danielle Mosley of the Annapolis criminal district court dropped all charges related to the arrest of seven activists from CASA, an immigrant rights organization. These activists were taken into custody for advocating healthcare access outside the Annapolis Statehouse in April. The activists, represented pro bono by attorneys Raquel Smith, Kimberly Seabright, Vernon Brownlee, Michael Stark, Omid Azari, and Hassan Ahmed, alongside CASA’s Legal Director Ama Frimpong-Houser, were ready to counter the accusations. However, the charges were dropped upon the State’s recommendation.
During one of the final days of Maryland’s legislative session, a gathering of over a hundred activists convened to support the Access to Care Act. The rally culminated with the arrest of seven CASA members who displayed a banner reading, “Healthcare is a human right” at the statehouse steps.
Reflecting on the event, CASA’s Legal Director Ama Frimpong-Houser remarked, “The April incident underscored our first amendment right to peaceful protest. Today’s dismissal of charges reinforces that right. Our community members suffer due to lack of healthcare access, and the onus is on our legislators to address this. We’ll continue to elevate this issue until healthcare as a human right is recognized in Maryland.”
The “CASA Seven,” as they’re popularly known, spotlighted the tales of Maryland residents adversely impacted by health conditions. Emely Deleon, a 22-year-old CASA organizer, joined the protest to honor her father Edgar, who succumbed to COVID at 49 without health coverage.
CASA, boasting over 149,000 lifetime members across 46 states, champions the rights of working-class Black, Latino/a/e, Afro-descendent, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities. Their unique approach fuses community services, organizing, and advocacy. Learn more at www.wearecasa.org and follow @CASAforall on Twitter.
Statement from KGO Firm Attorney Kimberly Seabright:
“I was privileged to represent one of the seven activists arrested at the State House in April of this year after their peaceful assembly. Facing a variety of charges like trespassing on public property and failure to comply with a lawful order, I collaborated with five other defense attorneys and prepared an argument rooted in both constitutional first amendment rights and the Maryland Bill of Rights. After weeks of political posturing from the Office of the State’s Attorney, our team of attorneys declined any plea deals in our individual cases and prepared to move forward with trials. Faced with trial, the Office of the State’s Attorney reviewed the actual evidence (including body-worn cameras from police), and correctly elected not to prosecute the cases.”