Two abortion protesters convicted of violating Amherst's residential picketing law said today they have videotape of their protest that shows they complied with the town law.
Kenneth Handyside and Hettie Pasco said they will cite the videotape to challenge Amherst Town Justice Edward J. Robinson's verdict that they illegally restricted their protest activities outside the home of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian June 26.
Handyside and Miss Pasco said they will argue in Erie County Court that Robinson's ruling Thursday violated their constitutional free speech rights and overlooked the lawful activity of almost a dozen other abortion protesters outside Slepian's Blue Heron Court home.
Robinson viewed videotapes taken by Slepian and by a supporter of the anti-abortion protesters during a one-day trial.
Robinson acquitted protester Bonnie Behn of Cheektowaga. Mrs. Behn videotaped the protest along with Slepian. Protester Nancy Walker of Lancaster faces a later trial in the case.
Robinson fined Handyside and Miss Pasco $112 each on the misdemeanor conviction but stayed the payments pending their appeal.
"We were not doing anything different than the other" demonstrators, Handyside said. He and Miss Pasco said they and the other protesters marched behind an American flag, walking in front of about six of the houses on Blue Heron Court.
Slepian was only able to identify Handyside and Miss Pasco during the brief trial. Both protesters have been active in prior protests outside the Slepian home.
Prior to the trial, Handyside said, protesters tried to get Robinson to define the residential picketing law, but he refused.
"We thought we were right," Handyside said. "We did try to comply with the law as we understood it," he added.