CLEVELAND — Fox 8′s Suzanne Stratford was the first to report that the case has been dropped against a man ticketed for littering after dropping a dollar he was trying to hand to a disabled person.
Before proceedings officially got under way Thursday inside Judge Angela Stoke’s courtroom, Chief City Prosecutor Jonathan Cudnik dropped the case, explaining “it’s the city’s opinion that money isn’t trash.” All along, good Samaritan John Davis felt that he was being wrongly punished.
Davis and his family were elated and extremely relieved by the decision because costs associated with fighting for his rights were adding up fast. The price of his $344 littering ticket was going up with every court appearance. Court costs alone could have brought the total up to about $500. Time missed from work and attorney fees were making his gesture of generosity even more costly.
Davis no longer has to pay court costs, and he’s happy that his attorney, Marcus Sidoti, will donate all fees to the Different Needz Foundation charity.
A ticket for giving money to a panhandler would have been much smaller, but since his dollar dropped to the ground, Davis was hit with a larger fine given to people who dump trash. He decided to fight the ticket because he believed his intent was clear — he was trying to help another person who was clearly in need.
“I never thought that a couple dollars could turn into a couple hundred dollars or whatever it may be at this point,” Davis said after a court appearance on Tuesday. “I mean, I knew that there were going to be court costs. I don’t know how the procedure works. Do you pay twice each time you hit the courts? I know you’ve got to pay your attorney each time.”
The officer who gave Davis the ticket was briefly in court on Thursday, but he did not speak.