Friday, August 10, 2007

Update from Ohio

Here's a great story about Kevin, our man in Ohio in the Plain Dealer, also being covered in USA Today:

I got a call from Kevin last night. At the start of the pretrial hearing the judge offered to reduce the fine from $125 to $25 if he'd plead guilty to "Disorderly Conduct" - take it or leave it and he had to decide on the spot. He refused.

The fact-pattern of the case is this: Ohio man places yard sign that reads "Impeach Bush" in a public garden, is stopped by Kent police officer who feels Ohio man is breaking the law, though can't find a specific statute. After taking Ohio man's information, he lets him go.

At six in the morning, Police Officer shows up at Kevin's door, says he's guilty of "Advertising on Public Property", apparently unaware of the difference between Free Speech and advertising. (Hint: "Free Speech" refers to speaking out politically in accordance with one's obligations as a citizen, also known as "Patriotism". "Advertising" means selling stuff.)

The judge dropped the advertising charge immediately, opting instead for "Disorderly Conduct". If Kevin had plead guilty, it would've cost him twenty-five bucks and that would've been it. By not pleading guilty the state's threatened to raise the charge to Littering, punishable by $500 and six months in jail.

Using public property for the free expression of political grievances isn't "littering" or "disorderly conduct" any more than it's "advertising." It's his Right as a Citizen and, in fact, his Duty. By refusing to back down on this, Kevin's not only fighting for you and me, but everything this country's supposed to stand for.

If the charges against Kevin aren't entirely dismissed he and his attorney, Bob Fitrakis, have vowed to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. If that happens we'll need to set up a legal defense fund, which I hope you'll all contribute to.

I'll keep you posted.

-Scarlet P. (4,985 signs and counting...)


beachblogger said...

yea Kevin!

Anonymous said...

One correction to your article - since the original charge was dropped, the August 19th court appearance is no longer. If I am recharged with littering, we will start over from the beginning and I would have to be arraigned again where I would plead NOT GUILTY.

Freewayblogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

rock on ohio,
ky love bandits