Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2 Ticketed Chess Players Opt For Trial

Yacahudah "YA" Harrison (l) and Chris Perlata (r) rejected a plea deal from a Manhattan Criminal Court judge. They along with five others were issued tickets for playing chess in Emerson Playground in Inwood Hill Park in October. "They want to go to trial," said their lawyer, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel. "They feel the charges against them should be dismissed outright." They will be back in court on January 4th. (Photo: Carla Zononi/DNAinfo)


Two of the men ticketed for playing chess in Inwood Hill Park refused a plea deal from a Manhattan Criminal Court judge Tuesday morning, opting to take their case to trial, according to DNAinfo.

Yacahudah "Y.A." Harrison and Chris Peralta were part of the group ticketed on Oct. 20 for playing chess at tables inside of Emerson Playground, a children's play area off limits to adults unaccompanied by minors.

They arrived at a court hearing Tuesday, accompanied by civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, where they refused a judge's offer of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, or ACD, which would keep the incident off of their criminal record if they have no other criminal activity in the next six months.

Harrison said he didn't take the offer because he doesn't believe he did anything wrong, and because as a homeless man, he could get any number of minor tickets in the next six months that would nix the deal.

"I have no intention of breaking any rules. But if I have any infractions in the next six months, the burden is on me to prove my innocence, no one else," Harrison said after the hearing, which was closed to reporters.

If Harrison and Peralta are found guilty they could be sentenced up to 90 days in prison, according to the judge who heard the case.

The other five men, including an MTA worker eating his lunch in the park when he was caught up in the police raid, accepted the judge's offer.

Now Harrison and Peralta will return to Manhattan Supreme Court Jan. 4 represented by by Siegel and co-counsel Earl Ward.

Read More:

DNAinfo - Carla Zanoni - December 28, 2010

New York Post - December 28, 2010 -By Dareh Gregorian

New York Times City Room - December 29, 2010 - By Andy Newman

A Walk In The Park - November 21, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft

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