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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sign-Toting MSU Fan Sought by Police

Considering that I graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I do not find myself in the position of pulling for the MSU Spartans very often; but last Saturday, I was grateful that another team mustered the power to bring down the Ohio State football machine.

That's just when the trouble started, again, on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing.  In the wake of their impressive victory over OSU, the campus erupted into what arguably could be characterized as a "friendly riot".

Apparently, there must be something in the student orientation material that advises: a) yes, our school will win occasional championships and national titles, and b) yes, you will be asked to participate in a campus riot when this occurs.

While it is debatable whether actual violence erupted in East Lansing after the game on Saturday night, or whether the campus gatherings more resembled a sport-fueled love-fest, it is undisputed that available property was seized, burned or otherwise destroyed.  On this occasion, it was all documented in real-time by a significant portion of the revelers through a variety of social media.

The photo above was taken in Indianapolis while the game was still being played.  Now, the individual holding the sign is being sought by the East Lansing Police; but for what?

Sounds like a waste of time.  The police should be on the lookout for the culprits depicted in the dozens of clips posted to myriad social media sites, and from the clips looping on the evening news, depicting the destruction of property.

Was the guy in the stands at Lucas Oil Field simply expressing his right to free speech; or was he inciting a riot?  If any of the students displayed in the media were actually committing crimes and can be positively identified, the prosecutor will have a variety of potential misdemeanor charges to level:
  • malicious destruction of property; 
  • disorderly conduct; 
  • inciting to riot on a university campus;
  • minor in possession of alcohol; or the catchall East Lansing ordinance -
  • being 300 feet from an "open fire" without reporting it to the police.
Having been up to the East Lansing District Court on several occasions following campus MIP sweeps, I know that the district court judges are tuned-in to the student culture of their precious college town.  But this stuff gets political; the judges are looking to make examples, as they should.

Our concern here at the Law Blogger is that the net gets cast too-wide.  After all, we as citizens do have a right to peaceable assembly.

Some Spartans, however, moved well beyond peaceable assembly.  Now, there is a lot of pressure to sentence the offending students to significant punishment, to say nothing of what the MSU administration will do.  Atta boy Sparty!



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1 Comments:

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December 16, 2013 at 6:27 AM 

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