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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

KRAYESKE CASE DISMISSED

Justice served!
Kenneth Krayeske, the political activist and blogger whose Jan. 3 arrest while taking pictures of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's inauguration parade raised concerns over civil rights issues and the actions of police, won dismissal Wednesday of the charges against him in Hartford Superior Court.

Prosecutors at first offered only to nolle the charges of breach of peace and interfering with police -- that is, to not prosecute them but reserve the right to reopen the case for about a year -- on the grounds that Hartford police were in a "no-win" situation because they would have been strongly criticized if something happened to Rell.

But Krayeske's lawyer, Norman Pattis, pushed for an outright dismissal, saying it was Krayeske who was in the "no-win" situation because he was a nonviolent citizen exercising his First Amendment right by taking pictures of Rell for his website, www.the40yearplan.com.

Pattis added that Krayeske should not have been identified as a threat to Rell, as he was by the state police, in a two-page security flier they prepared for police on parade patrol. The flier included information about Krayeske's past public criticism of the governor and two color driver's-license photos of him from motor vehicles department records.

Prosecutors then agreed to the dismissal, which did not involve any waiving by Krayeske of his right to bring a wrongful arrest suit in federal court. He said afterward he had not made a decision about legal action, and for now wanted merely to focus on his studies as a law student.
It's a great day for free speech as well as a great day for the blogosphere.

One of the State Reps who has been critical of Krayeske's arrest is East Haven's Mike Lawlor (99 Dist) and he issued this press release moments ago.
"It's very good news that prosecutors dropped the charges against Ken Krayeske and that the judge dismissed the case. For more than two months, everyone who was familiar with this incident had said that there was absolutely no probable cause to charge Ken Krayeske with any crime. It is also clear to me that Krayeske was singled out irresponsibly by state and local police because of his political views and prior political statements and activity.

The bad news is that state and local taxpayers will bear the cost of this violation of Ken Krayeske’s constitutional right. The good news is, that the governor, the legislature and law enforcement agencies can and will make sure this never happens again.

There are bills currently before the legislature expanding civilian oversight of these types of ‘intelligence’ activities and over the ability to hold non-violent arrestees on very high bonds for very minor charges."

Here's a flashback of Lawlor's press conference days after Krayeske's arrest.