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Criminal Defense Attorney for Columbia University Protesters

The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo, PLLC Team

On April 30, 2024, NYPD officers began arresting protesters at Columbia University. Many of these protesters were undergraduate students at Columbia University exercising their lawful right to protest the situation in Palestine. Officers arrested these students and took them to police precincts where they were fingerprinted and processed. Most protesters were given Desk Appearance Tickets directing them to appear in court at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan at a later date. Most of these protesters have been charged with Disorderly Conduct (Penal Law 240.20, a violation) and Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree (Penal Law 195.05, a class A misdemeanor). Though some of these cases may not be prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney, some defendants may be facing the very real prospect of a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. Though prison seems an unlikely result for most of these defendants, a conviction for a misdemeanor can have serious consequences for a university student. A student could be expelled from school, lose scholarship or student loan opportunities, or be rejected from graduate schools on account of a criminal record. Criminal convictions also pose serious hurdles to various forms of employment.

Thankfully, these cases can be defended on many fronts. The protesters may have very strong arguments that their arrests were unconstitutional. The criminal statutes as applied to them may be unconstitutionally vague under the circumstances. Police bodycam footage may ultimately vindicate some protesters as well. These are just some of the possible defenses in protest-related cases.

Matthew Galluzzo has successfully represented many people who were arrested for exercising their lawful right to protest. A former Manhattan prosecutor, he has over 20 years of experience practicing criminal law in Manhattan. If you or a loved one have been arrested or given a Desk Appearance Ticket for protesting at Columbia, you should strongly consider contacting him about possible representation.

Client Reviews

I found myself in such a dark place thinking only God could understand and help me through this horrible situation. But Matthew Galluzzo did. And he did so in a very kind, compassionate and respectful manner. Enough said.


Matthew Galluzzo saved the day when the unthinkable happened. Every phone call was returned within minutes. All email correspondences were replied to expeditiously. Matt handled our case as if it was a member of his own family in the courtroom. Despite all the obstacles along the way, Matt's legal...


In less than an hour of assessing my case, Mr. Galluzzo had a clear direction and evoked a confident demeanor that was infectious. During the course of several court appearances he was always prepared, and took more than a personal interest when errors in court procedure occurred. Mr. Galluzzo...


We hired Matt when my son was arrested on several very serious felony charges. Matt is not only very knowledgeable about the law, he genuinely cares about his clients. He was patient and professional, inside the courtroom and out, in what turned out to be a very long process. He worked closely with...


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