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October 18, 2002

Man pickets courthouse after incident

From: Marion Chronicle Tribune, IN
Oct. 18, 2002

Man angered by Wednesday event in court

A Marion man picketed outside the Grant County Courthouse on Thursday, proclaiming court officials had violated his freedom of speech the day before.

Carrying a cardboard sign on a stick, David Liddick paced the perimeter of the courthouse for more than four hours at midday Thursday, trying to make a point. Printed on his sign were the words: "Freedom of Speech: Not in Marion."

Liddick, 56, said he was angry because a court bailiff and Grant County Sheriff's deputies told him he could be arrested for disorderly conduct Wednesday afternoon while he sat in the hallway during a custody hearing.

Liddick, who is distantly related to the family involved in the custody dispute, said he disagreed with where the children, ages 9 and 12, were made to sit during the hearing and asked court personnel about it.

"The question I was asking was irrelevant," said Liddick, a retired crane operator for General Motors. "I have the freedom to talk. You have the opportunity to walk away. If the lady doesn't want to talk to me, she can walk away."

Jennifer Cassidy, bailiff for Superior Court 2 Judge Randall Johnson, said Liddick was approached a number of times during the hearing by security personnel.

"He was basically being loud in the hallway and was interfering with the court proceedings," she said, adding that she never threatened Liddick with arrest, but heard sheriff's deputies do so. "I asked him to relax and keep his voice down. He refused and kept interrupting. One of the security officers approached him and started talking to him."

Liddick, who was not arrested, said that although he might have raised his voice because he is hard of hearing, he never was disorderly and shouldn't have been threatened with arrest.

"If my voice carries or is boisterous, I'm sorry. I can't hear," he said. "I am complaining about the process they did and the threats."

The custody dispute was resolved agreeably, Johnson said, adding that court personnel did their jobs properly.

"We really try hard to make sure people feel they're treated with respect," Cassidy said. "It bothers me that someone doesn't feel they've been treated well."

Copyright © 2002 Chronicle Tribune.