Punta Gorda Man Charged with Felony Littering – UPDATE

Richard Clawson - Alleged Litterer

Richard Clawson – Alleged Litterer

Robert Clawson allowed a trucking company to dump a load of tires on his own property, which was vacant. Deputies tracked him down and charged him with a felony. The trucking employee was not charged, as he had been given permission by Mr. Clawson, and they agreed to pick up the tires. So they got nothing, and Clawson is facing a felony littering charge.

Any time I hear about a littering case, I automatically think of Alice’s Restaurant and the twenty-seven 8×10 colored, glossy photographs with circles and arrows they used to convict Arlo Guthrie. In this case, it looks like no matter how many glossy photographs were taken, they don’t have a case here. According to the WINK story, the tires were dumped on Clawson’s property. If that doesn’t sound like a crime, you’re right. The littering statute reads, in pertinent part, “…(c) In or on any private property, unless prior consent of the owner has been given and unless the dumping of such litter by such person will not cause a public nuisance or otherwise be in violation of any other state or local law, rule, or regulation.” Florida Statutes Section 403.413 (2012). Unless there is some other rule preventing it, Ms. Clawson can’t be prosecuted for littering on his own property. Duh.

UPDATE: The state dropped all charges on this case.



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