The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 35.0°F | A Few Clouds

Judge gives Huang continuance

By Andrea Lamberti

The charge against Jennifer Y. C. Huang '90 of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was effectively dismissed on Tuesday when a district court judge granted her a continuance without a finding for one year, according to the assistant defense attorney, Jackie Church.

The new finding also postpones a verdict on the charge of disturbing the peace. In September, Huang was found guilty of both charges, which grew out of events during a pro-divestment rally last spring. She immediately filed for a new trial, this time before a jury, which was scheduled to take place last Tuesday.

But during a pre-trial conference, the judge rejected a plea of guilty, and "decided to go ahead with the continuance without a finding," according to the assistant district attorney, Lynn C. Rooney.

"The judge, not the commonwealth, decided to go ahead with the continuance," Rooney said.

The guilty plea was offered "as part of a compromise that was reached," Church said, in return for the continuance without a finding.

Under the new finding, Huang will be on probation for a period of one year, after which she will not have a criminal record. She may then seek to have the record of the incident sealed.

However, if she is arrested during the one-year probation, the felony conviction will remain on her record and the original sentence -- a suspended sentence of 10 days in a house of corrections -- will be imposed.

"I am very happy about it," Huang said.

Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin, said she "wouldn't have been disappointed" if the case had gone to trial. "The judge has made her decision and we have to abide by it."

CAA shanty caused arrests

Huang was one of 26 people arrested during a Coalition Against Apartheid demonstration April 6. Demonstrators had constructed a shanty next to the Stratton Student Center to symbolize the plight of blacks in South African shantytowns.

Within a few hours after the demonstrators erected the shanty, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56 told the demonstrators the structure was unauthorized, and ordered them to remove it. People who did not comply were removed from the shanty and arrested.

Everyone but Huang was charged with trespassing after notice and disturbing the peace; she was additionally charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a felony.

Campus Police officer Lucy M. Figueiredo charged that as she was placing Huang -- the last person removed from the shanty -- into the police van, Huang kicked her in the chest and bruised her. Due to the injuries, Figueiredo was off work for three and a half weeks under the care of a physician, according to Campus Police Lt. Edward D. McNulty.

Huang came up against these charges in a judge trial Sep. 21, and the judge found her guilty of disturbing the peace and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but not guilty of trespass after notice.