Prosecutors tried to gag Jared Marcum from talking to press
Paul Joseph Watson
July 1, 2013
Common sense has finally prevailed in the case of a middle school student arrested after he refused to remove an NRA t-shirt, with criminal charges against 14-year-old Jared Marcum being dismissed by a judge.
Marcum faced a year in jail after being arrested on April 18 by police in Logan County, West Virginia on charges that he “obstructed an officer” by refusing to stop talking. The incident began when Marcum refused to remove an NRA t-shirt when asked by a teacher.
After Marcum refused to take off the shirt, calmly attempting to explain to school administrators that he was exercising his first amendment right, cops were called solely, “Because I would not take this shirt off, because I believe that I should have a right to wear this,” according to Marcum.
The t-shirt featured the words “protect your right” above an image of a hunting rifle, a message the school deemed a violation of its dress code which bars images featuring “profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases.”
Police initially claimed Marcum made “terroristic threats” for daring to exercise his first amendment, but later backed down from that charge.
Despite prosecutors pursuing the case for a planned July 11 court date, Marcum’s attorney was able to persuade them to drop criminal charges and the judge dismissed the obstruction charge, although it remains unclear whether Marcum will face any further action brought by Logan Middle School administrators.
“After a review of statements from the officer and the school’s principal, White says he and a prosecutor agreed that creating a criminal record for Marcum wasn’t a good idea,” reports the Associated Press.
After the story attracted nationwide attention, prosecutors Christopher White and Sabrina Deskins asked Logan County Circuit Judge Eric O’Briant to impose a gag order that would have prevented Marcum, his father and his lawyer from discussing the case with the press, an attempt to take the matter “out of the court of public opinion,” according to Marcum’s attorney Ben White.
After preparing a petition to intervene on the gag order in the interests of the free press, WOWK reporter Charlo Greene was thrown out of the Logan County Courthouse and prevented from presenting her argument on orders of the judge.
Marcum’s treatment attracted national condemnation amongst conservatives and libertarians as it underscored how both authorities and the education system treat the first and second amendments as nuisances to be frowned upon and discouraged.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings last year, there have been innumerable instances where schools have reacted with outright panic and hysteria to toy guns, objects shaped like guns or even the mere discussion of guns by students.