From the April 2000 Idaho Observer:

Newport man wins sanctions against city attorney

Browning will appeal decision; $25 not enough for dog ticket harassment

NEWPORT, Wash. -- Leonard Browning, 56, of Newport and Spirit Lake has been battling city of Newport City Attorney Dana Kelley over a conviction for not having an Idaho dog licensed to visit the city of Newport.

Browning finally prevailed March 30 when Judge Rebecca Baker found that prosecutor Kelley had violated numerous court rules, RCWs and direct court orders to achieve the 1997 conviction.

Although Baker only sanctioned Kelley $25, her decision is a clear sign that justice can prevail when one has the truth and patience on his side.

Browning will appeal Baker's sanction because it was not severe enough considering the nature of his actions.

Interestingly, in an unrelated civil manner, Judge Bake had sanctioned Browning $1,000 for failing to review and sign certain documents in a proper manner.

The controversy stems from Browning being arrested for violating Newport's dog licensing ordinance.

Jailed and not fed over a non jailable offense, Browning refused to give up his fingerprints for a misdemeanor. Judge Baechler (who was later convicted of rape and connected to major drug trafficking) refused to let Browning out of jail until he allowed himself to be fingerprinted.

Representing himself, Browning was convicted of failure to license an Idaho dog that was visiting Newport. He appealed and overturned his conviction in Superior Court where Judge Baker ruled that the Newport dog licensing ordinance was unconstitutional and that the city had violated numerous court rules and had failed to establish jurisdiction.

Apparently in retaliation for his sucess at the appellate level, city employees, according to Browning, manufactured two charges of dog running at large. Both charges were dismissed for lack of probable cause. Undaunted, Kelley refiled the exact same charges for the exact same reasons and moved the proceeding ahead to a trial without a jury. One charge was dismissed because the dog had not left the property, but Browning was convicted in the other since the dog had dashed into the street for 1.5-3 seconds.

Browining was prevented from calling witnesses in his own behalf.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong,” commented Browning who recommends that people question all authority, read all charges thoroughly and read the statutes to see if they are valid.

Browning plans to sue the city in federal court over the 39 months of civil rights violations he has experienced over an unconstitutional dog ordinance.

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