Just got this week's Sandy Post. This article is not on their web site, (Why is that, Mr. Post?) so I'll relate it here for all of you who don't want to drive way up here to get the print version.
Clackamas County Circuit Court judge Steven Maurer accepted a motion from Juan Rubio's attorneys to throw out the charges of menacing and criminal mischief that the state brought against Rubio. In dismissing the seven-member jury, Maurer said the facts proved Rubio was just exercising his free speech rights, though Skelton may have found Rubio's comments upsetting.
"One of the attributes of free speech is that it well may be disturbing. You take the good with the bad." Maurer said in his closing remarks. The judge stated he not only had the authority, but the obligation to dismiss the case because he recognized the issues at hand were based on Rubio's right to free speech.
Mr. Rubio was arrested last summer during the Sandy Mountain Festival Parade. It was exactly one month to the day after his son, Carlos, had gone missing under mysterious circumstances. Details are sketchy, but Rubio alleges Sandy Police had been harassing his son and believed they had information regarding his disappearance. Mr. Rubio was passing out flyers to parade watchers and confronted Sandy police chief Skelton, one of the grand marshalls, near the end of the parade route.
According to the Post, witnesses said Rubio was yelling at Skelton about the disappearance of his son and compared local police to Nazis.
Skelton said he called for backup after Rubio approached him three different times. He claimed he and his wife felt threatened.
Said Skelton, "His screaming in the public venue was creating public alarm. In the right circumstances, that kind of thing could have started a riot"
In court, Judge Maurer countered Skelton's claims saying there was faint evidence that anyone was deeply disturbed by the encounter. "The best we got out of most witnesses was that he [Rubio] was inappropriate," the judge said.
Maurer rebuked Skelton saying the case should never have gone that far, and that, in his opinion, they should have just escorted Mr. Rubio away. "Police involvement should have been at at a significantly less level than arrest and prosecution," he said. "It is unfortunately one of the things you sometimes deal with as the police chief in a community."
Skelton said the case was another example of how the courts "have months to scrutinize a case for a decision made by an officer in a matter of seconds." He maintained that preventing a riot was one of the department's key concerns when arresting Rubio. "I'm well aware of the freedom of speech, but we're also tasked with protecting the public, especially in a crowd situation like Mountain Festival. We were doing that - we were protecting the public and Mr. Rubio."
The judge, obviously felt otherwise and was moved by the passion and emotion with which Mr. Rubio speaks of his son.
After Maurer made his decision, a weeping Juan Rubio thanked him. Mr. Rubio then took off his outer shirt, displaying a US Army shirt underneath, which the Post says cryptically "that the judge had ordered him to cover up earlier".
Rubio said "I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. If I can't stand up for my son, who can I stand up for? He was a really good boy - this happened all because of racist crap."
Maurer responded "flushed and with a few tears" according to the Post: "I don't know what it would be to lose a son. I don't want to tell you how to better put this behind you, but I hate to see you eat yourself up day-in and day-out."
Congratulations Mr. Rubio! You are a true American hero. I will not forget your son or the battles you have fought - in war, and here again at home - to ensure that my rights and freedom, and those of us all, are protected.
To the Sandy PD: Study Mr. Rubio's mug shot well. THIS is what courage, integrity and strength look like!