Charges remain for College Fest attendees

Sarah Steimer

Trials tentatively set for October

Kent Municiple Court Judge John J. Plough reads information pertaining to charges against College Fest attendees yesterday. The court still has not dismissed the charges. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

After another hearing for 33 College Fest attendees, charges still have not been dismissed.

Defense attorneys William LeFaiver, Carol Crimi and J. Chris Sestak continued, from Friday, to get their clients’ failure to disperse charges dismissed by arguing that arresting officers did not comply with the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The officers who arrested the individuals during the April 25 block party were not the same officers who signed the complaint forms. The attorneys argued the officers signing the complaint forms did not have an essential statement of facts about the arrested individuals.

Sgt. Ed Wheeler, a supervisor at the Kent City Police Department on the night of the riots, took the stand at this hearing. He, like the officers examined at the previous hearing, did not arrest the individuals for whom he signed the complaint forms. Wheeler explained that because of the magnitude of arrests that evening, duties had to be split among officers.

It is not against the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure to have a different officer sign the complaint, and it does occur at the Kent City Police Department from time to time, Wheeler said.

The defending attorneys argued that the officers signing complaints needed more information about the individuals’ arrests. They could do so either by being the arresting officer themselves, viewing the arrest or defendant’s failure to disperse or speaking to the arresting officer.

Wheeler said he did not take any of these steps, but did sign the complaints after a clerk prepared the papers.

LeFaiver asked for the arresting officers’ names, but at this time that information is not available.

Trials for the 33 attendees are set for October unless charges are dismissed before that time. The defense attorneys said they hope their clients are being considered as being in the wrong just for attending the party.

“Each one of these people are individuals, not a group,” Sestak said.

Contact public affairs reporter Sarah Steimer at [email protected]