Good Samaritan Cleared of “Criminal” Charges — Yet Fined Anyway

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

In the wake of a severe snowstorm last December, Pocatello, Idaho resident Mitch Fisher acted when city maintenance workers didn’t by clearing the sidewalks in front of his home and that of an elderly neighbor. This act was witnessed by a police officer who, in obedience to the universal government mandate to harass productive people without cause, issued Fisher a $206 citation for “placing or depositing material on a public right of way.”

Of course, city-operated snowplows in Pocatello and other communities routinely deposit material from city streets onto private property.

After the story was publicized, Police Chief Scott Marchand defended the actions of his revenue farmer, claiming that Fisher had created a “safety issue for all drivers on the road” and stating that he had “directed officers who are investigating complaints or who observe people moving snow from private property into city streets to issue citations.”

Fisher had plowed his neighbor’s yard every year during the past nine winters without attracting the attention of the local tax-gatherers.

The story attracted national attention and no small measure of public outrage.  For the past two months he has been fighting the citation with the help of attorney Paul Echo Hawk, who took the case pro bono. Earlier this week, the charges against Fisher were dismissed.

“For what he was trying to do, I didn’t feel like he deserved criminal punishment,” Echo Hawk explains.

However, since government officials can never concede that they were in the wrong, the court still managed to extort a $75 fine as punishment for the Good Samaritan’s actions.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan


  1. […] After a winter snowstorm, an Idaho man was issued a $200 ticket by police for placing or depositing material on a public right of way. The material placed in the public right of way was snow that the man was shoveling from his and his elderly neighbor’s sidewalk. When the story received media attention, it created public outrage and the man fought his fine in court. The charges against him were dismissed, but he will still have to pay a 75 dollar fine. [Link] […]