I followed a merchant's truck from their only location to a customer, another business, of theirs, I took photos of the truck at the customer loading dock. I followed this truck and took pictures of its final destination because I thought they were conducting wholesale distribution, and wholesale distribution for this merchant (nonconforming use) is a violation of a condition of a zoning hearing board decision. The zoning officer, when earlier told about the alleged violations, told me to "prove it." So I followed the truck in order to get photographic evidence of the alleged zoning violation. The driver of the truck noticed me following him, and his boss, the merchant had his employee charge me in a "private criminal complaint
." In Pennsylvania, these charges are heard at a Magesterial District Judge. At that hearing, two of the three charges were dismissed. The one charge that stuck was "following in public" with intent to harass. I contend that I had a first amendment right to follow this truck, who I thought was complicit in an unlawful act and taking photographic evidence to provide to the zoning officer for possible enforcement of the zoning hearing board decision. I would like to get this overturned. What do you think?
JA: You're dealing with a tough issue. But don't worry -- you're in good hands. Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: Pennsylvania, Lehigh County
JA: Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: Yes, I had a lawyer for the Magisterial District trial
. I was Pro se at the Common Pleas appeal.
JA: What advice did they give you?
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Criminal Lawyer should know?
Customer: I need someone with first amendment experience versus this harassment conviction. Can you deal with this?
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Criminal Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.