State v. Bessey

For many years, Marianne Bessey has handed out information regarding animal abuse to circus goers near the Sun National Bank Center and was familiar with the rules regarding leafleting in the area surrounding the Sun National Bank Center. In 2012, unbeknownst to Ms. Bessey, the rules had changed since the last time she had been to the arena. While Ms. Bessey was handing out leaflets, she was notified by a police officer that she needed to stay ten feet away from the crosswalk. When she attempted to comply with the officer’s order she was arrested because the unmarked sidewalk that she moved to was still considered to be part of the crosswalk by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. At trial, the judge found Ms. Bessey dismissed most charges, but did find her guilty of not obeying a law enforcement officer’s command. The ACLU-NJ has appealed the matter.

Status: This case has been argued before the Appellate Division and is awaiting a decision.

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