The Gainesville Sun, Fla.
The Lake City man who was arrested Sunday after refusing to take a crude sticker off his truck won’t be prosecuted.
Assistant State Attorney John Durrett filed a court document Thursday that said the Third Judicial Circuit will not prosecute Dillon Shane Webb, 23, on the obscenity possession and resisting an officer charges levied against him after he refused a Columbia County deputy sheriff’s orders to alter or remove a sticker that read “I EAT A**” from his Chevy truck.
His arrest — and sticker — made national news.
Durrett said in a court document he would not prosecute Webb because he had “a valid defense to be raised under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
“Given such, a jury would not convict under these facts,” the document reads.
Court filings show the case has been closed.
In a Facebook post, Webb’s Jacksonville-based Bonderud Law Firm attorneys, said they would now turn their representation of Webb from defensive to offensive.
“The First Amendment was our defense,” wrote the law firm in a Facebook post. “What is (Columbia County) Sheriff Hunter’s defense? We will find out!”
Attorney Andrew Bonderud wouldn’t say if he intends to make a wrongful arrest claim on Webb’s behalf. He did, however, say they could claim economic damages for lost work.
Webb has been suspended from his job since his arrest, the law firm announced on Facebook.
Bonderud said he could also claim damages for “what (Webb) has been through.” Webb’s mugshot has circulated from Fox News to the Washington Post’s websites and has been shared on social media countless times.
Webb has been sharing the articles himself on his personal Facebook, and Thursday morning, shared an altered photo that depicts President Donald Trump, flanked by military men, saluting Webb, giving a thumbs up. It’s captioned:”Not all heros (sic) wear capes. Some have decals that say ‘I eat a**.'”
Bonderud said he wasn’t sure how Webb’s self-promotion might affect any damage claims he might make.
In the meantime, Bonderud sent a letter to Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter Wednesday demanding that he confirm in writing Webb would not be arrested again for the sticker, which Webb said will remain on his truck.
Bonderud said if the sheriff’s office won’t agree, he will seek a federal injunction to protect his client.
“If they don’t agree, we’ll see them in court next week,” he said.
Sgt. Murray Smith, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said he doesn’t believe Webb will get arrested again in Columbia County for the crude sticker.
“We’re not going to arrest this guy again, especially because the state attorney has decided not to prosecute him,” Smith said. “That would be beyond vindictive and petty.”
Smith said the initial arrest was justified.
“It’s the deputy’s job to establish probable cause. He did that,” he said. “It’s the state attorney’s job to figure out if he can prove this case without a reasonable doubt. Obviously, he felt he couldn’t do that.”
Despite the sticker being offensive to some, Bonderud said, it should still be protected.
“It’s a joke. We don’t criminalize jokes in this country. It’s not obscenity. It’s protected by the First Amendment,” he said. “If they don’t like it, they can respond with their own bumper sticker or look the other way.”
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