Jurors convicted 10 pro-Palestinian protesters from the University of California Irvine Friday on charges stemming from an orchestrated series of interruptions during a February 2010 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson sentenced the 10 to probation. They faced up to six months in jail for the misdemeanor counts of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.
The verdict comes after two and a half days of deliberations, wrapping up a trial which pitted the students' right to protest against the freedom of speech by the Israeli official.
There is no right for a "heckler's veto" - taking over another person's speech and shutting it down, argued Orange County Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner. The students cared more about getting their message across than the rules of the meeting, and they planned to disrupt regardless of consequences from the university administration or police.