City, With DA's Assist, Appeals Muni Judge's Decision to Dismiss Case Against Robert Groden
It's been seven months since we first told you the story of Robert Groden, the Kennedy conspiracy theorist and author and Oliver Stone consultant arrested and detained by Dallas police for peddling his pamphlets in Dealey Plaza. Three weeks ago, it looked as the story might have come to a conclusion in Dallas Municipal Judge Carrie Chavez's courtroom after the judge dismissed the criminal case, writing, among other things, that she didn't have jurisdiction and that the Dallas City Code's permitting process for the sale of goods in public parks didn't apply to Dealey Plaza. Groden's attorney, Brad Kizzia, was elated by the ruling: "The end to police harassment of Groden in Dealey Plaza! Hallelujah!!" First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers told Unfair Park that the city was "considering its options" about how to proceed.
In the end, Dallas has decided to appeal the ruling: Yesterday, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins signed off on a notice of appeal sent to Judge Chavez, which you can read in full after the jump. Writes Watkins, "By affixing my signature below, I am hereby certifying to this Honorable Court not only that I am personally authorizing the State's instant appeal, but also that the State's instant appeal is not taken for the purposes of delay, but to permit the appropriate appellate court ir courts to address the important legal issue or issues implicated by this Honorable Court's issuance of the order granting Robert Groden's motion to quash."
Last night, Kizzia sent to Unfair Park a statement concerning the notice of appeal, which he calls "very disappointing and a waste of resources." He writes ...
Update at 2:11 p.m.: Wait, wait. Before you jump, First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers just sent over the State's Motion for Reconsideration and Brief, which runs 19 pages and explains exactly why the city does not believe the judge was correct in dismissing the case against Groden last month. It follows in full. Now, keep reading ...
Regrettably, it looks like the City is trying to make an example of Groden because he's the only well known author selling conspiracy publications in Dealey Plaza. Consider the many ways that the City has singled Groden out and treated him differently from any other alleged violators of Ordinance 32-10: 1) No one else in Dealey Plaza has been charged under that ordinance; 2) No one else was arrested; 3) No one else was jailed in Lew Sterrett; 4) No one else was required to post bail to get out of jail; 5) No one else had their property seized by Dallas PD and held for 6 1/2 months and counting; 6) No one had their complaint (charges) changed 3 times; 7) In no other case was a dismissal appealed. Doesn't the DPD have a unwritten policy not to arrest and jail persons charged w/Class C misdemeanors? What percentage of Class C misdemeanor dismissals are appealed to County Criminal Court by the City? I bet it's a minuscule percentage. It's very disappointing and a waste of resources.
Keep in mind Groden also has a federal case pending against the city in which he's claiming, among other things, malicious prosecution following his arrest and detention. Kizzia believes the appeal has something to do with that: "Perhaps the City is trying to buy time and leverage in the discussions about possible settlement of Groden's pending civil case," he writes. "Then again, by continuing the campaign of harassment against Groden, the City may be enhancing the value of the civil case." The appeal is below.
The State of Texas v. Robert Groden Groden Motion for Reconsideration
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.