Good Samaritan Relieved About Dropped Case

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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 one of two dollars he was trying to hand to a disabled man in a wheelchair.

Before proceedings officially got underway Thursday inside Judge Angela Stoke’s courtroom downtown at the Justice Center, 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.

“It’s been crazy,” says Davis. “It’s ridiculous. My whole family can’t believe it.”

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 at least $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.

“It’s a foundation for special needs children and families,” said Attorney Marcus Sidoti. “They provide services and a big scholarship every year for wheelchairs and developmental tools and things.”

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 in need.

“I’m just happy that it’s done and over with so everything can die down,” said Davis, breathing a sigh of relief.

However, a spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Dept. also wanted to remind people that soliciting near a highway or busy street is illegal according to Municipal Code Section Number 471.06.

It is also illegal to hand money from a motor vehicle to a person who is soliciting on the side of the road.

Det. Jennifer Ciaccia says it’s a safety issue.

“Some of the concerns we would have, especially in this scenario with this person so close to a freeway exit ramp, he could be at risk for getting run over or something, falling off of a vehicle and hitting him,” said Det. Ciaccia.

Ciaccia does not think the officer meant any harm or malice toward Mr. Davis, but she says he was just doing his job trying to address the larger issue of panhandling.

The officer who gave Davis the ticket was briefly in court on Thursday, but he did not speak.

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