January 10, 2010

The Protesting Battle Continues

“You are intelligent, articulate and a thoughtful proponent of your position.”

Those were the candid words of Judge George Sotos about Scott Huber during the persistent downtown protestor’s preliminary injunction hearing at the DuPage County Courthouse.

But those words couldn’t stop the judge from getting frustrated with Huber during the more than four hours of arguments Friday regarding Huber’s violation of a city ordinance that bans the storing of personal property in the downtown “public way.”

Huber, who has protested downtown for more than eight years and has been ticketed more than thirty times for violating the ordinance, believes the law has too big of a scope.

“I’m stating that basically federal law believes that an ordinance that entertains both random and organized presence is too broad,” said Huber. “Being a protestor I’m an organized presence as opposed to some homeless peoples or (transient) that would walk up and suddenly set up camp.”

After the city presented its case Thursday, Huber outlined his case over two sessions and more than four hours, citing many different statutes and legal definitions of the public way.

“It becomes quite confusing for the average person,” said Huber, “and it seems to me these words should follow a normal definition that you shouldn’t have to go into a city code and find what that word means.”

After going through the ordinance and laying out a concise case in the morning session, a notably fatigued Huber claimed his First Amendment rights were being violated by this ordinance in the afternoon. That brought many objections from Assistant City Attorney Michael DiSanto and many accusations of hearsay.

DiSanto declined to speak on camera, but was clear in saying the city’s main goal isn’t the payment of thousands of dollars in fines, but Huber’s compliance with the ordinance.

However, his protest will live on for at least a few more days. On Wednesday both parties will give their closing arguments, and from there, if the court grants the preliminary injunction to the city it would go up for a final hearing and permanent injunction. That would make Huber take his protest elsewhere.


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