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Quartzsite, Arizona

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Quartzsite's Doug Gilford acquitted on all charges

July 3, 2012 - Quartzsite, Arizona- Doug Gilford today was acquitted of  multiple charges of harassment, criminal trespass, and false reporting to a law enforcement agency, regarding several incidents at Quartzsite Town Hall on July 11, 12, 13, and September 1, 2011. 

Gilford is a local blogger, videographer, and openly critical of Town Hall administration and Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert and officers.

Judge Sherwood Johnston III made no statement on his ruling, however arguments made by Gilford’s attorney, Scott Campbell, focused on the constitutional right to video record in a public place. Town Manager Alex Taft stated she was the person who made the rule not to allow video taping at the front desk of Town Hall, to "protect the privacy of our customers". Taft also said she didn't consider the constitutionality at that time, but said she "considered the rights to privacy, that videos could capture private information." 

Witnesses for the State included Town Manager Alex Taft, Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson, QPD Officer Rodriguez, Sgt. Frausto, Sgt. Garcia, and former Mayor Jose Lizarraga (who was not called to testify).

Officer Rodriguez stated he was sent to Town Hall Sept. 1, 2011 with orders from Sgt. Frausto to arrest Gilford. A text message was also sent to him listing the charges. An audio of that arrest was presented, as well as two other videos taken at Town Hall on Sept. 1st and July 11th.

Regarding the charges of false reporting to law enforcement officers, Gilford's defense attorney argued that what Gilford said on the report was true; while Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Jones responded that Gilford called 911 when there was no actual emergency.

Gilford's attorney motioned for acquittal because he felt the State had not made a sufficient case to continue the trial. Judge recessed to consider, returned and announced acquittals on all charges.


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