CORNING - Judge Matthew McCarthy of the Corning City Court signed an order and decision Wednesday dismissing all misdemeanor charges against Christie Speciale, including the hate crime.
“My client was simply protesting animal abuse which does not constitute a hate crime,” said Susan Chana Lask, counsel to Speciale. “Although justice has been served, Speciale suffered immensely from (Steuben County District Attorney Brook) Baker’s false charges, and I will continue vindicating her in a civil rights suit.”
The only charge remaining is the initial disorderly conduct, which is not a crime but a violation, claiming there was a public inconvenience, Lask said. Speciale will take that to trial as her position is that violation cannot be proven.
“Yes the judge (McCarthy) has issued an order finding the documentations supporting the aggravated harassment, second (degree), and stalking charges were insufficient,” Baker said. “I don’t necessarily agree with the court, but I’m bound to that. So we will proceed with the case as it stands.”
In late September 2018, Speciale was charged with a simple disorderly conduct after she protested animal abuse in the Corning Gaffer District, Lask said. More than a week later, on Oct. 1, 2018, Baker ratcheted the disorderly conduct to an aggravated second-degree harassment and stalking, both misdemeanors.
Lask filed a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charges and argued Speciale never went after anyone because of their religion and a “hate crime” can only occur if there is physical contact involved, which also never happened.
McCarthy agreed with Lask as his Jan. 2 decision granting Speciale a motion to dismiss, according to Lask.
“There are no facts alleged to support a finding that the defendant struck, shoved, kicked or otherwise subjected another person to physical contact,” Lask said. “There was never a hate crime in the first place.”