Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ohio Court Rules for Social Pervert

I've got considerably more to say about Marty Beeson who's been upping the ante since he first declared that public defenders don't work for the public and abuse the system by actually defending their clients rather than working with the prosecutor to ensure prompt convictions.
But not right now.
Because sometimes, as I note from time to time, the courts get it right.
Yesterday, Gideon pointed to a spectacular example from Connecticut.
There are others, some I've linked to and discussed, many I haven't.  Mostly, the ones you hear about in the blawgs and the ones I write about are the big cases, major felonies, death penalty cases, that sort of thing.  That's true, too, of most of the cases we blawgers write about that leave us outraged.
But you know, most cases aren't like that.  Most are the small things.  More people, many more people, get traffic tickets than get charged with murder after all.  (Which is as it should be.  Many more people violate the traffic laws than commit homicide.)
So maybe a note about a judge doing the right thing when dealing just with an annoyance is worth a bit of attention.
I direct your attention to Clinton County Municipal Court in Wilmington, Ohio.  And to the Honorable Robert Peelle, Magistrate.
Apparently there's no dispute from the trial record about what happened.  Chester Garen was parked in a strip mall selling Hawaiian Shaved Ice from his truck.  His ten-year-old son was with him.  A car came by.  The driver and passenger both gave Garen and his son the finger.  As the Magistrate accurately observed,
It is generally recognized that defendant's gesture is considered an insult, an annoyance, and is offensive.
In any event, the passenger, Joseph George, also said something though I don't know what.  Garen called a cop, because, well, hey, that's what people do when someone gives them the finger, don't they?
But you know, we have this First Amendment thing in the US of A.  And sometimes it counts.  (Though maybe not for the Phelps family; we'll see how that works out later.)
And so it is that Magistrate Peelle explained:
Although the defendant may have acted in a disgusting and immature manner, his right to behave like a social pervert is protected by the Constitution.
Oh, you wanted to read the whole opinion/decision.  Here it is.

Free speech                                                            

Sadly, it wasn't my case. 

No comments:

Post a Comment