The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has developed various pre-trial “diversion programs” to preserve judicial resources and provide an alternative course than the typical trial track (arraignment, preliminary hearing, trial, sentencing) for certain offenders charged with both misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses. There are two Accelerated Misdemeanor Programs available in Philadelphia, AMP 1 and AMP 2.…
“Defiant Tresspassing” at Starbucks
Attorney Lauren Wimmer recently represented two black men who were suspiciously arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 12. The case received national prominence on television and in newspapers across the country. The two men had gone to the shop to meet Andrew Yaffe, a local Philadelphia businessman, to discuss business investment opportunities.
Mr. Yaffe arrived at the coffee shop only to realize the men he intended to meet were being arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance and trespassing. Mr. Yaffe called a friend, attorney Lauren Wimmer, who agreed to represent the men “pro bono” (without cost).
Attorney Wimmer told the Philadelphia Enquirer the men (whom she would not identify) were at the location to meet another man (Mr. Yaffe) to discuss business. In an interview with CBS News, Ms. Wimmer noted:
“The video, in this case, essentially speaks for itself,” Wimmer said. “These guys were doing what people do every day, they were having a meeting and they were undoubtedly singled out because of their race.” People inside the Starbucks at the time also thought the men were being singled out because of their race, so some stepped in to try to help.
In an excerpt from her interview with the Washington Post:
The two men, whom she declined to identify, were taken to a police station, fingerprinted and photographed. One officer suggested that they faced charges for “defiant trespassing,” Wimmer said.
Attorney Wimmer spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hours aggressively advocating for her clients with the 9th District, Central Detectives, and the District Attorney Charging Unit. This resulted in their release without charges being filed.
“The district attorney found no evidence of a crime.” They were held for nearly nine hours before they were released, after prosecutors said they would not pursue charges.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Andrew Yaffe asked on a video. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous?” he asked people nearby. “It’s absolute discrimination.”
While Ms. Wimmer has completed her work as a criminal defense attorney in the case we will provide additional updates and coverage on this page and invite you to check back.