Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

A DuPage County judge dismissed charges Thursday against a freelance video journalist who was arrested while shooting footage of a crash along Interstate 88 near Naperville. After hearing testimony from the Illinois State Police trooper who arrested David Weaver, of Sugar Grove, Judge Joseph Bugos dismissed misdemeanor counts at the midpoint of Weaver’s bench trial.

Weaver’s attorney, Matthew Topic, argued that prosecutors had failed to meet their burden on misdemeanor counts of stopping in a roadway, walking improperly on a roadway and failure to yield to emergency vehicles. The judge agreed, halting the trial after the presentation of the prosecution case and dismissing the counts. In a pretrial ruling, the judge had dismissed a trespassing charge.

Weaver, who shoots video that he sells to area television stations, was arrested Aug. 11, 2018, as he was recording a fiery two-car crash on eastbound I-88 near the Illinois Route 59 ramp.

He said after the trial that he was not interfering with the emergency personnel and was on the other side of the median when he was arrested by the trooper.

His attorney, a specialist in free speech matters, said the case presented possible First Amendment issues. But Topic said they were able to prevail on more basic grounds that the state had failed to prove the legal elements of the statutes that Weaver was accused of violating.

“This didn’t end up being a First Amendment case, but we were prepared to go there,” Topic said.


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