Update: Muller NOT GUILTY!
Port Penn, DE, February 28, 2001. For those with an interest in this matter, Green Delaware Executive Director Alan Muller's trial in Dover, Delaware, ended this morning without the case even going to the jury. Court of Common Pleas Judge Merrill C. Trader granted defense motions: The charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass were dropped because the prosecution's documents were defective and the prosecution had not offered sufficient evidence that the offenses had actually taken place. Significantly, Trader ruled that police orders need to be lawfull and that police must "supply an authority," and not arbitrarily order citizens out of public spaces. (Observers of the jury felt that it would probably have found Muller not guilty.) This outcome means that Muller is no longer banned from Legislative Hall, the seat of Delaware's government. Muller had been banned since January 16, 2001, when he was arrested by Capitol Police at the inauguration of Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. Another prominent activist, Rev. Jim Lewis, has also been arrested since Minner became Governor.
Capitol Police Staff Sgt. Mike Hunt testified that "we try to discourage visitors, tourists, and activists ... we try to keep them off the floor [of the House and Senate]."
Green Delaware expresses it's thanks to attorney David L. Finger (www.davidfinger.com), the Delaware Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the many friends and colleagues who attended the trial or expressed their support through letters to the press, Governor Minner, and others. Observers felt that Finger conducted an exceptionally skillful defense. Delaware media coverage of the case was generally fair and balanced. We hope this will become a pattern.
Gov. Minner's press secretary Greg Patterson said: "I'm not commenting to the News Journal and I'm not commenting to you. It had nothing to do with the Governor."
No immediate comment was available from the office of Attorney General
M. Jane Brady.
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page was last updated on March 1, 2001.