For NYC judge, handling protest cases nothing new

By JENNIFER PELTZ | November 4, 2011 | 2:35 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — When dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters charged with blocking traffic went to court, they faced a New York City judge with experience handling cases that grow out of political demonstrations.

In 2006, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Neil Ross presided over the trial of 18 members of an activist group called the Granny Peace Brigade. He acquitted them of disorderly conduct charges stemming from an anti-Iraq War protest at the Times Square military recruiting station.

Ross' docket was crowded Thursday with nearly 80 cases from an Occupy Wall Street march on Sept. 24. And there were some familiar faces in the crowd.

Ross noted that one of the protesters was one of the Granny Peace Brigade members he'd acquitted. But he said he felt he could handle the case fairly.