Precedent setting? Jurors find former state representative Ed Fallon of Occupy Iowa not guilty
of violating curfew law at Des Moines capitol because it violates Iowans' constitutional freedom to assemble.
A Polk County jury reached a verdict Friday in the first trespassing trial for an Occupy Iowa protester.
The jury found Ed Fallon not guilty of trespassing.
Fallon was charged with trespassing on the Statehouse grounds. He was one of the Occupy Iowa protesters who refused to leave the grounds after authorities said they violated an 11 p.m. curfew.
Juror Aimee Mairs told KCCI's Amanda Lewis that the decision was a matter of putting the U. S. Constitution above a state imposed curfew. She said four jurors were on board right away, but it took some time to convince the other two jurors.
Mairs said the jury decided Fallon was justified in being on the grounds for the purpose of exercising his First Amendment rights.
“It feels incredible,” said Fallon. “I’m excited about the positive aspects of this in terms of the freedom of expression and the First Amendment.”
Fifteen other members of Occupy Iowa awaiting trial were arrested at the same protest as Fallon, and all charged with trespassing. The not guilty verdict in Fallon's case could be great news for them. Or better still, perhaps charges will be simply dropped, sparing the court the expense of a jury trial.