Civil Liberties

Charges Dropped Against Student Who Wore NRA Shirt to School



Recently, Reason reported about the case of Jared Marcum. The West Virginia teenager, who was 14 at the time of the incident, refused to remove an NRA shirt despite the demands of a teacher. Subsequently, the police were called on Marcum. After insisting that he was within his rights despite an officer telling him to stop talking, the eight-grader was arrested and charged with obstruction. He faced a potential $500 fine and up to a year in jail.

More than two months after the debacle began, the charges against Marcum have been dropped. Judge Erin O'Briant signed the dismissal last Thursday.

The boy's guardians spoke to WOWK-TV, a local television station. Marcum's mother reportedly "was overcome with emotion after signing a dismissal order and cementing the fact that the criminal charges against her 14-year-old son… have been withdrawn." Allen Laridieri, the boy's step-father, said, "It should have come sooner but it's done and we don't have to have that concern anymore about him having a criminal record. I'm just glad that it's over. His mother is glad it's over." 

Ben White, Marcum's lawyer, stated, "I think, with the gun issue, with what is going on, this is a victory for common sense." According to WOWK-TV, the lawyer also expressed his belief that the dismissal of the case demonstrates that "the justice system and its integrity are alive and well in Logan, West Virginia."

However, up until yesterday, it had not been smooth sailing for Marcum and his family. Earlier in the week, prosecutors had filed a motion for a gag order. This would have restricted what Marcum could divulge about the case to the public. WOWK-TV reported:

Prosecutors were hoping to bar Jared, his father and his lawyer from sharing their story with the press, under the guise that their request would serve Jared's better interest, something Jared's father Allen Lardieri sees as ironic.

"It was for Jared's better interest is what I was told, which seems to be a bit odd to me," Lardieri said. "These are the same individuals that are trying to prosecute him, so as far as them knowing what is in his better interest, I have a lot of questions about that." 

Marcum's lawyer suggested that the prosecution made the motion in order to avoid further public scrutiny over the case. However, the prosecution did withdraw the petition shortly thereafter.