Sign-waving politician's citation dismissed in Anne Arundel

An Anne Arundel County judge on Tuesday dismissed a ticket for sign waving that was issued to County Councilman John Grasso in May.

In a District Court hearing in Annapolis that lasted perhaps one minute, Judge Jonas D. Legum dismissed the charge after a county police officer declined to offer any evidence to support the ticket.

Back in May, police ticketed the Glen Burnie Republican as he was standing in the median of Route 2 near the South River Bridge in Edgewater and waving a sign to promote his campaign for county executive.

The violation was for standing on a highway to solicit donations or advertise a message and carried a $70 fine. But police acknowledged they shouldn't have issued the ticket because the part of the law banning sign-waving advertisements may be unconstitutional.

When the measure was approved in 2007 as a way to crack down on panhandlers, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler wrote a letter to the governor saying the part of the law barring sign-waving probably wouldn't withstand a legal challenge. A total ban on signs would violate the First Amendment, he wrote.

Grasso asked for a court hearing on the ticket in June.

After Tuesday's hearing, Grasso said the fact he had to get a lawyer and come to court represented "a waste of resources."

Grasso, meanwhile, has dropped out of the race for county executive. Instead, he plans to seek re-election to his seat on the County Council.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad