Defense attorneys try to get College Fest charges dismissed

Theresa Edwards

Thirty-three individuals who were arrested at College Fest April 25 are trying to get their failure to disperse charges dismissed.

The hearing took place today at 1 p.m. at the Portage County Municipal Court and will be continued Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

Defense attorneys William LeFaiver, a private practitioner, Carol Crimi and J. Chris Sestak, of Student Legal Services, submitted motions to dismiss the charges because, according to the motions, the complaints do not comply with Ohio Criminal Procedure.

In the motions, the defense attorneys argued that the arresting officers failed to identify individuals arrested that evening and thus the officers who signed the complaints could not have had any reason to believe crimes had been committed.

LeFaiver said no officer who issued complaints could identify the individuals arrested.

“The officers cannot even testify that these people were in the area,” he said.

When officers Lt. John Altomare and Sgt. Jim Prusha of the City of Kent Police Department took the stand, they said they could not identify each specific individual involved.

“I was present during numerous arrests,” Prusha said. But he also said he signed complaints for many individuals when he went back to the department and was not present for their arrests.

Ohio Criminal Procedure does not say that the officer signing the complaint needs any prior knowledge of the incident.

Contact public affairs reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].