The city of Racine, WI, has
dropped all charges against more than 400 people slapped with $968 tickets
for "inhabiting a disorderly house" at an electronic music benefit concert
there in November (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/266.html#raverebellion).
City prosecutors admitted they couldn't prove their case and agreed to
dismiss all of the citations. Persons who earlier pleaded guilty
or no contest to receive a reduced fine will also get their money back.
The agreement, reached between
the city and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, promises
the city only that the ACLU will now not sue. The city also agreed
to change its policies on policing raves and to erase all records indicating
that the citations had ever been written. The news came late Thursday
night, too late for DRCNet to seek comment.
Police had also arrested
three people on drug charges at the concert held to benefit a local community
theater group, but also outraged ravers and civil libertarians across the
country by ticketing the hundreds of other attendees.
Faced with a strong and largely
unified resistance from those ticketed, Racine prosecutors offered early
on to drop the fines to $100 in return for guilty pleas. That didn't
work. Neither did the offer to remove any mention of drugs from the
charges. Most of the ticketed ravers pleaded not guilty and demanded
trials, a move that would cost the city untold dollars in legal expenses
and untold hours of police time as officers would be called to testify.
Last week, the city blinked
for a third time. During a status conference before the court, Racine
prosecutors and attorneys representing the electronic music fans agreed
to cancel court appearances set for the following today and enter into
negotiations to resolve the matter. According to Racine attorney
Erik Guenther, who is volunteering with the American Civil Liberties Union
of Wisconsin, he and Racine officials were seeking an "amicable resolution"
of the matter. Negotiations were ongoing, Guenther told DRCNet, but
he declined to provide details. In the meantime, "individual pretrials
set for January 10 have been cancelled, as have all other appearances,"
Guenther said. "We are now able to also instruct those people who
have pled guilty or no contest, but have not paid their fines, not to do
so for the time being."
Or ever, now that Racine
has backed down.
-- END --
Issue #272, 1/17/03
The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Dr. Francisco Fernandez, Anthropologist and Former Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Al Giordano, publisher of Narco News | Bolivian Government Represses Coca Protests, Four Dead... So Far | Ed Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Judge Blocks Mention of Prop. 215, Has Trouble Seating Jury | Canadian Prime Minister Promises Motion on Decriminalization as Courts Continue to Chip Away at Marijuana Laws | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: Souder Pushes Partial HEA Reform, Frank to Reintroduce Drug Provision Repeal Bill | Newsbrief: Racine Caves Before the Ravers | Newsbrief: MPP "War on Drug Czar" Continues -- State Reacts to Allegations | Newsbrief: 12 Dead in Brazil as Drug Police Raid Shantytowns | Newsbrief: Mexican Soldiers Bust Narcs | Newsbrief: Colombian President Seeks Iraq-Like Mobilization Against Traffickers | Newsbrief: Some Colombian Terrorists May Be More Equal Than Others | Newsbrief: Alaska Lieutenant Governor Disqualifies Marijuana Legalization Petition Signatures, Proponents Vow Fight | Newsbrief: Return of the RAVE Act | Newsbrief: Ecstasy Rarely Kills, British Study Finds | Alan Shoemaker Ayahuasca Legal Defense Fund Needs Support | Media Scan: Washington on Forchion, Cockburn on Rosenthal, Forbes on Walters, Szasz on Drug Medicalization, Bruce McKinney, GAO on DARE | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar
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