Ohio man’s $344 ticket for “littering” tossed out

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 02, 2012

Prosecutors tossed out a $344 littering citation against a driver whose money fell to the ground after he reached through his open car window to hand it to a panhandler.

The city dropped the ticket because it decided the cash didn’t qualify as trash, assistant city prosecutor Jonathan Cudnik said during a court hearing Thursday.

John Davis, of Elyria, had pleaded not guilty to the minor misdemeanor earlier in the week and said he was determined to fight the ticket.

He said he was trying to help someone in need when he handed the money to the panhandler, who was in a wheelchair at a busy intersection during rush hour on May 17. A police officer who was behind Davis saw the money hit the ground and cited him for littering.

Davis told reporters Thursday that he was glad the matter was now over, but he said he’d no longer give money to people along the road and instead would give to charities.

Cleveland police said it’s illegal to solicit or give money at the side of a roadway, and that it’s dangerous for those doing it and other drivers.

The police officer didn’t ticket Davis for donating to a panhandler, which carries a smaller fine of about $160, but instead cited him for littering from a vehicle.

The man in the wheelchair was not cited for panhandling, but he has been many times in the past at the same spot and along other roadways, police said.