Fantasy author Joel Rosenberg reports he will stand trial August 8 on charges related to his bringing a loaded gun into Minneapolis City Hall last November. The trial date was set during his latest hearing on May 2.
Rosenberg is accused of possessing a dangerous weapon in a courthouse, a felony, and contempt of court, a misdemeanor. This happened when Rosenberg and his wife went for an appointment with the Minneapolis Police Department’s Public Information Officer. Rosenberg has a permit to carry his weapon, however, he is said to have violated a court order that prohibits bringing weapons into City Hall, which houses courtrooms and associated function rooms.
At Rosenberg’s prior hearing, March 18, the court requested briefs on the issue. The gist of the County’s argument [PDF file]is:
The Minneapolis City Hall sits comfortably within the reasonable definition of a courthouse complex (a building in which established courts are held…)
The Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial District has authority to promulgate a rule or order prohibiting the possession of dangerous weapons within a court facility, such as the Minneapolis City Hall.
Rosenberg’s attorney, David Gross, in his brief [Docs.Google.com document] disputed that City Hall is legally a courthouse, partly by contrasting how the court’s order is posted in City Hall and in Hennepin County’s main court facility:
What is noticeably lacking on or in the Minneapolis City Hall is just such signage. Hennepin County knows exactly what it claims to be a “courthouse” (as that language is used in the sign) or what is a courthouse complex, because it has gone to the trouble of notifying citizens of its claimed applicability of the law to those buildings, perhaps even out of respect for the citizens’ rights under the MCPPA and the requirement of knowledge on the part of the citizen who wishes to conform his or her conduct to the law, as discussed, above. Until it charged Joel Rosenberg, it didn’t even make such a claim concerning the Minneapolis City all, first floor, or otherwise. Surely to make such a claim, now, without notice, after the fact, is to mislead the citizen, to attempt to ensnare him with something about which he had no knowledge.