A Kenosha man with ties to California and Indiana was arrested on August 10, 2022 after a months-long investigation into anti-Semitic flyers being distributed around the Kenosha area. The reports began in December of 2021. The flyers attacked Jewish people and were distributed in baggies with pebbles in them, on windshields, driveways, and walkways. The Kenosha Police Department consulted with the Kenosha District Attorney’s office and it was decided that the flyers themselves, although disturbing, are protected under the first amendment.
Instead, Kidder was cited under Kenosha’s non-criminal ordinance 11.02U which states:
Littering. Throw, place or deposit any paper, glass, bottle, cans, containers, grass clippings, rubbish, waste, filth or other debris upon private property without consent of the owner or occupant, or upon the streets, alleys, highways, sidewalks, parks, or beaches, or into any pond, stream, river or lake.
Bidder received 23 citations in total and if convicted of all counts, could be facing a fine of more than $4,300.
First Court Appearance
Kidder appeared today in Kenosha Municipal Court with Judge Michael Easton presiding. For the City, prosecutor Attorney Bryan Charbogian appeared. Kidder had filed a motion to dismiss stating that the ordinance, as applied to him, was unconstitutional and violated his free speech. He brought with him some fliers that appeared on his door, from politicians and other advertisers. Judge Easton entered a not guilty plea on Kidder’s behalf. There will likely be several more hearings in this case. Kidder, interviewed after court by KCE and another news agency said he planned to take this case to trial and even said he would be appealing the case “all the way up.” Although Kidder wouldn’t admit to distributing the fliers, he all but told us he did. He plans to use an affirmative defense that he believes will get the non-criminal citations thrown out. He showed KCE all of the fliers that were distributed and sent KCE about a half-dozen emails with similar content. Most of the materials appeared to be anti-Semitic. Kidder says he is not a violent person and wasn’t advocating for violence. When asked by another journalist why he distributed these fliers at night he responded sharply, “When do you have free time!?”
If Kidder is found guilty in Municipal Court. He has the right to appeal the Judges Decision to the Circuit Court. A successful local defense attorney told us that although Kidder’s alleged actions may have violated the letter of the law, he might have an affirmative defense. Kidder could argue selective prosecution. It would however, switch the burden to the defendant, when normally the City has the burden. The burden in Municipal court, however is lower. The City prosecutor need only show the defendant is guilty by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning, more likely than not – not beyond a reasonable doubt, like in criminal trials.