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Racine Caves

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Charges dropped against the “Racine 441″ (somehow reduced to 440), the ravers arrested in November under the city’s “inmate of a disorderly house/controlled substances” ordinance.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story:

    The 440 multi-pierced, electronic-music-loving party-goers who were stung with $968 citations for attending a rave party gained a sweeping victory Thursday.

    City prosecutors admitted they couldn’t prove their case and agreed to dismiss all of the citations.

    Even ravers who pleaded no contest and paid a reduced fine will get their money back.

    The only consolation for the city is that, according to the agreement, the Milwaukee-based American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which represented most of the party-goers, said it would not sue the city.

    The city also agreed to change its policing of such gatherings and to expunge from all records any evidence that the citations had ever been written.

    ….Police reasoned that the drug activity was apparent to everyone at the party; virtually anyone who could be detained was ticketed under the city’s “inmate of a disorderly house/controlled substances” ordinance.

    Assistant City Attorney Scott Lewis moved quickly to defuse the situation, first offering to reduce the fine to $100 and then to remove any reference to drugs from the citation. But the vast majority of ravers refused the plea bargains and demanded Municipal Court trials, a potentially costly prospect for the city, given the need for officers to testify. More important, city attorneys ultimately concluded it was impossible to determine which people at the party knew illegal activities were going on.

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