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Judge: Case to be dismissed against inmate activist if he stays out of trouble

An inmate-rights activist who went to jail in June after police accused him of placing a fake bomb outside the Nassau County Legislature building is set to have his legal case dismissed.

Hempstead District Court Judge Tricia Ferrell on Tuesday granted Stephen Figurasmith, 32, of Valley Stream, an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, or ACD. That means a misdemeanor charge against him will be dismissed if he keeps out of trouble for six months.

The Valley Stream man is part of the group Prison Abolitionists of Nassau Inciting Change. He and a fellow protester wore biblical costumes when they put bottles of what he said was water colored with red dye in front of the legislature building on June 14. More bottles were in found in a car nearby, police said.

The theatrical protest was an effort to invoke symbolism of a plague and connect it with the idea that inmates at Nassau’s jail do labor without proper pay, according to Figurasmith.

Last month, Figurasmith had his original felony charge reduced to the misdemeanor. Prosecutors said then they already agreed to offer the activist an ACD  but a different judge rejected that case disposition.

“The DA’s office recognized fairly quickly that somebody dramatically overreacted and they did their best to end it as quickly as it could be ended,” Figurasmith’s attorney, Ronald Kuby, said Tuesday of the case against his client.

"Based on the facts of the case, it was determined that an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal was appropriate," a spokesman for the Nassau district attorney's office said Tuesday. "We thank the court for consenting to this request."

Figurasmith said he’d continue to advocate for those behind bars. He said he’d like to see people who have experienced incarceration put on the jail’s board of visitors, for inmates who get work assignments to earn minimum wage, and for those behind bars who are eligible to have access to “their legal right to vote.”

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