Case thrown out against seller of conspiracy magazines at Dealey Plaza

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on December 17, 2010 at 1:20 AM

DALLAS - A setback hit Thursday in Dallas' effort to crackdown on vendors selling on public property.

A municipal judge dismissed the case against Robert Groden, who has sold John F. Kennedy assassination material at Dealey Plaza for years.

The judge's order comes less than two months before the Super Bowl, and just as the city starts enforcing a solicitation law.

With nice weather, it's was a good day Thursday for vendors at Dealey Plaza as visitors hit the area. It was also a good day for the vendors since a municipal judge dismissed the charge against Groden.

"The first thing that crossed my mind when this happened, exactly six months before the Super Bowl was to come, was they only want there to be one point of view," Groden said.

Groden sells his JFK conspiracy magazine at the plaza, which the city claims is a park.

Police arrested him in June and charged him with illegally selling without a park board permit. But, Judge Carrie Chavez dismissed it since Dealey Plaza isn't listed as a park in the city code and the park board doesn't even have a process to get a sales permit.

Even if it did, the judge pointed out the city hasn't posted any rules for the public to know. The city attorney's office said it's studying its options now.

"If they try it again, they are just really pushing it," Groden said. "I'm not dropping the federal case against the city."

In a federal lawsuit, Groden claims the city violated his 1st Amendment rights.

The city says its new law is aimed at stopping panhandling, not clearing the streets of vendors before the Super Bowl. But, Groden said he remains wary.

"We are down here letting people know what the evidence actually is," he said.

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