Appeals court sides with highway protesters
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Published Tuesday, March 6, 2001
ST. PAUL (AP) -- Three Highway 55 protesters cited for obstruction for trying to stop the reroute project in 1999 won their appeal and had their sentences overturned.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals, in an opinion issued Monday, reversed the convictions of Elaine Avery, Jennifer Beatty and Anna Constance. The three-judge panel agreed that the women did not " obstruct a highway, " as the charges against them stated, because no highway existed where they were arrested.

A Hennepin County judge found them guilty of petty misdemeanors stemming from their December 1999 arrest in south Minneapolis on the site of the future route of Highway 55. The judge sentenced each to pay a fine or to spend four days in a community service program.

Prosecutors had argued that the site' s designation as a future highway should be enough to make the obstruction law apply or " dissenters of all sorts could thwart construction and thereby prevent the public' s use of a highway without threat of obstruction citation."

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