Trial Update-November 5, 2003
All the initial trials are completed.
Here is the the updated tally.
For seven defendants, all charges were completely dismissed,
either by verdict of acquittal or dismissal by the prosecutor. Another five were resolved
with no contest pleas to minor misdemeanors (a non-reportable offense, equivalent to
jaywalking). Of two misdemeanor convictions, one is on appeal on First Amendment grounds,
and the other has a motion for new trial pending.
Released October 27, 2003
May 4 Conviction Appealed on First Amendment Grounds
Defense attorneys filed a brief in Ohios Eleventh District Court of Appeals on
October 14, 2003, challenging the misdemeanor conviction of Troy Gregorino.
Gregorino was one of fourteen people arrested by Kent City Police on Sunday, May 4,
2003 on the Kent State campus during an anti-war demonstration.
Defense attorneys Louis DelBene and Nancy Grim argue that the conviction of
Gregorino violated his rights to free speech and political expression under the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gregorino was convicted of disorderly conduct by
hindering traffic. Kent City Police Chief James Peach testified that a primary purpose of
the police was to prevent the anti-war marchers from going to downtown Kent. Peach
also testified that there were no injuries and no property damage. The appeal argues that
the police warning to marchers to stay off of Main Street (although it was cleared of
vehicular traffic), and the arrest of Gregorino for marching, amounted to an unlawful
restraint of political expression.
The appeal also notes that the charge, disorderly conduct by hindering traffic, required
proof that the conduct was an act that serves no lawful or reasonable purpose of the
offender. Because the anti-war march served the lawful and protected purpose of
political expression, the
no lawful purpose element was not proved.
The Court of Appeals has not set a date for oral argument or decision on the appeal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Attorney Louis J. DelBene 330-670-5213
Attorney Nancy Grim 330-678-6595
The full appeal brief may be obtained from the Clerk for the 11th District Court of
Appeals at the Portage County Courthouse in
Ravenna (Case No. 03-P-71), or by contacting the office of Attorney Nancy Grim.
Law Office of Nancy Grim
237 E. Main Street, Kent, Ohio 44240-2526
330-678-6595 Fax 330-678-6517
The money we have collected in our fundraising
efforts has barely been enough to pay for the various court and filing fees and transcript
costs. None of the lawyers have been paid for their long hours of labor on behalf of the
defendants and the appeal will be costly.
Send your much needed contributions to:
THE MAY 4TH DETAINEE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
c/o Brian J Williams
611 W. Market St.
Akron, OH 44303
Although the legal battles will continue, it is now time to deal with the
culture of law enforcement in the Kent community that enabled the police to act such a
Much information was revealed during the testimony by the police at the
various trials. The arrogance of those police who testified was only a bit more
incredulous than the inconsistencies in their testimony. It is our hope to compile
enough information about the police disturbance on May 4, 2003 to present a case to Kent
City Council and the people of Kent so that appropriate measures can be taken to prevent
the police from violating the first amendment rights of its citizens.
In a related first amendment matter, The American Civil Liberties Union
and Chris Fox (a member of the Kent State Antiwar Committee) filed a law suit against the
city of Kent on October 7, 2003. The suit allgeges that the city's requirement of a $1
million insurance bond by those wishing to march in the streets violates their first
amendment rights. Such insurance is difficult to find. Few agencies offer it and, if they
do, they are under no obligation to sell it to you.
A six month discovery period has been initated, to be follwed by a court
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