Upthegrove Trial Begins, Continued until June 14th
By Jeff Fitzgerald, Senior Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
Lima bar owner and NAACP President Jason Upthegrove is back on trial in Lima Municipal Court, this time charged with 'Keeping a Disorderly House' related to his bar, the Brownstone.
Lima police conducted an administrative compliance check of the bar on February 17th of this year. Testimony Friday indicated a strong smell of marijuana when officers arrived on scene and when they eventually entered the business. Upthegrove has not denied that pot had been smoked in his establishment, but a Keeping a Disorderly House charge put the burden of proof on the city to prove he willfully allowed that marijuana smoking to occur.
At one point a few hours into the testimony, it appeared that Judge William Lauber was close to dismissing the case when he himself asked a question of police Major Angel Cortes, but was stopped by City Lima Director Tony Geiger when it appeared that was the direction the judge was heading. That did not happen but a recess was taken shortly after that exchange and Upthegrove and Geiger talked in court, eventually going into the judges chambers.
When they reconvened, Geiger asked for and was granted a motion to continue the trial next Thursday, June 14th at 9am when as many as 20 more witnesses could be called.
Both Geiger and Upthegrove declined comment after Fridays proceedings because the trial is still ongoing.