Traffic Tribunal Judge William Guglietta dismissed the charges against nine people ticketed for walking on a freeway yesterday. The nine, seven activists and two members of the media (WPRO’s Steve Klamkin and ABC 6’s Jamie Woodhouse) were ticketed at the intersection of Sockanosset Cross Road and New London Avenue in Cranston, near the Garden City Shopping Plaza on March 27 as part of an action challenging Cranston’s recently enacted panhandling ordinance.
The seven activists, including Megan Smith of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, Roger Williams University Law School professor Andrew Horwitz and Cranston resident Debbie Flitman were represented by Neville Bedford, a volunteer attorney with the ACLU of Rhode Island.
City Solicitor Christopher Rawson attempted to amend the charge to crossing without using a crosswalk, but Judge Guglietta dismissed the charges without prejudice, which allows the City of Cranston a chance to refile at a later date. Attorney Horwitz, speaking as a defendant, said he doubts that Cranston will refile, saying that the city has no legal basis for ticketing the group in the first place.
The tickets dismissed by Judge Guglietta were state level tickets. Many of those in court yesterday will appear in Cranston Municipal Court in June to answer for city level tickets, given by police because the activists violated the anti-panhandling ordinance. Others who only received tickets for violating the panhandling ordinance will also appear in municipal court in June.
Those ticketed under the Cranston ordinance will also be represented the ACLU.
You can see the video of the court appearance below.