Pitchfork Rights Case

In State v. Fried (Ariz. Just. Ct. Mar. 5), defendant was carrying a pitchfork as a political protest, and tried to enter the County Administration Building; the County Manager insisted that defendant leave the pitchfork outside, the defendant nonetheless entered the building with the pitchfork, and the defendant was then prosecuted for trespass.

Held: The defendant must be found not guilty because,

Without addressing any First Amendment protections which may be applicable to the Defendant, the Court concludes that the County Manager’s decision to allow members of the public with holstered handguns to access the building but deny access to the Defendant because he had a “holstered” pitchfork was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.

At the time, the county let people with holstered handguns enter because state law “requir[ed] the County to provide temporary storage for ‘deadly weapons’ if the County intended to require persons to remove their weapons upon entry to the building,” and the county did not have such temporary storage available at the time. Thanks to Fred Ray for the pointer.