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posted: 1/8/2010 12:01 AM

Trial begins for Naperville sidewalk 'protester'

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  • Scott Huber received a citation from Naperville police for storing his belongings on public property, but he is fighting the ticket saying the law is unconstitutional.

       Scott Huber received a citation from Naperville police for storing his belongings on public property, but he is fighting the ticket saying the law is unconstitutional.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville officials are asking a DuPage County judge for the right to keep anything Scott Huber leaves unattended on public property.

After the 59-year-old protester was cited by police for storing his belongings on a downtown sidewalk recently in violation of a new city ordinance, the police had to return the things when Huber came to retrieve them. City officials said Huber's stuff is back on public property.

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That's the crux of the city's argument in Huber's ordinance violation trial that began Thursday in Wheaton.

Huber, acting as his own lawyer, argues that because his belongings are attached to a mobile cart and locked to a bicycle rack, he is properly utilizing public property during his constant vigil in protest of alleged city government injustices. Huber had been sleeping on the sidewalk outside the Chicago Avenue parking deck for years before the city council recently passed ordinances designed to keep him from doing so.

Naperville police officer Dave Pastrick testified that Huber was warned about violating the new laws before he was cited Nov. 10. He also told Huber that his cart shouldn't be attached to the bicycle rack.

"I would say a bike rack is appropriate place to store a bike," Pastrick said. "I don't consider your cart a vehicle."

Huber butted heads several times with Judge George Sotos over procedural issues during Pastrick's examination.

"You are not going to be deprived of putting in all your legal theories as long as they are relevant," Sotos assured Huber.

But things started off shaky between Huber and the judge before the trial even began. Sotos admonished Huber for not wearing a belt in the courtroom and told him to wear one when the trial resumes today.

"You're going to attired so we don't see your backside," Sotos said.

"My buttocks, sir?" Huber asked.

"Yes, your buttocks," the judge replied. "Now pull your pants up."

Huber argued wearing a belt slowed the security check process at the courthouse because he had to remove it in order to not set off metal detectors. Sotos did not relent.

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