Nick Ryder reports that appearing at trial Monday before Judge Burke, activist Dave Ridley was to face charges from when he was arrested for refusing to turn off his camera in the courtroom lobby. Originally thought to be a disorderly conduct charge, activists were surprised to learn at the beginning of trial that Dave was actually facing a class B Misdemeanor contempt of court. The prosecutor brought forth one witness and one piece of evidence to prove that Dave had knowingly broken a “court order”.
The legality of a judge issuing orders that have effect outside the actual courtroom is in question among activists, but Dave was found guilty on the charge. He made it obvious before and during trial that he had no interest in participating in a legal defense of himself, and would take the punishment the court handed down. His caveat though: he would not pay a fine so to not have his money funding further prosecution of victimless “criminals”.
With Ridley’s guilty charge was a $250 fine. Ridley refused and asked the judge about community service. Unlike in the past, where Burke has offered it to people like Russell Kanning or Andrew Carroll without question, Burke questioned Ridley about his financial situation. When Ridley was unwilling to disclose any information regarding it, Judge Burke eliminated the option of community service and said the only other option was jail. After a short conversation, Ridley agreed to turn himself into jail for a 6 day sentence beginning on July 6th.
One final notable question came when Ridley asked the judge about the man who recently died in the House of Corrections in Westmoreland, where Dave will be staying. All these events can be seen in the video: