A municipal court hearing is scheduled this morning for the Occupy Charleston defendants facing charges related to being in Marion Square after hours.
The hearing will be at 8:30 a.m. on Lockwood Boulevard, said Christopher Inglese, an attorney representing defendant Matt Rabon. Inglese said he would argue for dismissal of a trespassing charge against Rabon based on due process.
The defendants have requested trials. "These are very important cases. This is about the future of free speech in this city," said William Hamilton, an attorney representing defendant Justin Honea.
Honea was arrested Nov. 22 and charged with illegally camping in the park.
Hamilton will present a motion to throw out a charge against Honea on free speech grounds. "I honestly think that Justin Honea's case needs to be dismissed right now," he said.
Hamilton said there are 10 attorneys working on the cases.
Meanwhile, sources said, Occupy Charleston is preparing to apply for a permit to allow 24-hour occupation of Marion Square.
Ten Occupy protesters were arrested about 1 a.m. Nov. 23 and charged with trespassing. The park curfew is 11 p.m.
They are Allison Anderson, Ramon Caraballo, Richard Fowler, Noah Hilliard, Rabon, Adrianna Varedi, Tyreece Washington, Crystal Wernicke, Nathaniel Williams and Brandon Fish.
Williams entered a no-contest plea because he wanted to be free to travel out of state.
About 50 police arrived at the park when the Nov. 23 arrests happened. The protesters were jailed overnight.
The city said police gave the protesters a chance to walk away from the situation before putting them in handcuffs.
In October, the relationship between the city and Occupy Charleston began peacefully with a 99-hour event at Brittlebank Park that included music, camping, educational lectures, debates and downtown marches. The daily crowds at Brittlebank were in the range of 50 to 100 people.
The local Occupy movement became more aggressive when about 40 protesters disrupted a speech by Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann on Nov. 10 in Mount Pleasant. On the same day, Occupy Charleston said it wanted to set up a camp at Marion Square for an "indefinite" presence.
Occupy Charleston is among dozens of Occupy movements that have sprung up around the country in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting corporate influence in politics and economic disparity. Most of the protests have been peaceful, but violence occurred in Oakland, Calif.