Jeffrey A. Kidder had all littering citations written against him dismissed last week in Kenosha Municipal Court. Months before that, similar citations written in Somers were also dismissed.
The Kenosha man, with ties to California and Indiana, was arrested 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.
KCE spoke to a criminal defense attorney who told us that although Kidder’s alleged actions may have violated the letter of the law, involved attorneys agreed that this case couldn’t be prosecuted due to free speech and selective enforcement issues. For example, politicians, lawn-care companies, weed services, and a plethora of other people are constantly distributing flyers on mailboxes, doors, and windshields in the City of Kenosha.
Kidder appears to have a past criminal history out of California and according to Sheriff’s department records, may be a convicted felon. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2016, but the charge was later dropped.
Bidder received 23 citations in total and faced more than $4,300 in fines.
Kidder appeared in Kenosha Municipal Court with Judge Michael Easton presiding on September 9, 2022. 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. 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.
Kidder hired criminal defense Attorney Terry W. Rose shortly after the first hearing. Rose was pleased with the citations being dismissed and said he fought for his client’s rights under the First Amendment, even though he disagreed with the message.
KCE contacted the City of Kenosha for comment and City Administrator John Morrissey, a former Kenosha Police chief told us “Like most cases, I believe we allow the court system to play out and in this case it was decided that dismissal was the appropriate outcome.”
Kidder is no longer facing any citations or criminal charges in reference to the fliers.