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Tickets to honkers supporting Medford teachers on strike dismissed

Four motorists ticketed Monday for honking their support for striking Medford teachers won't be prosecuted for unnecessary noise violations after all.

Jackson County Justice of the Peace Joe Charter told the Mail Tribune today that he has dismissed the $160 tickets at the request of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, which issued the tickets Monday to passersby of protesters at Griffin Creek Elementary School.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson confirmed Wednesday that the tickets were dismissed, saying they were written under an incorrect state statute.

The Oregon Revised Statute used in Monday's citations was ORS 815.230, which is the defective-horn violation, Carlson says. The correct ORS would have been 815.225, which covers violations of use limits on sound equipment, she says.

The tickets will not be re-issued, she says.

ORS 815.225 specifically outlaws the use of a horn other than "as a reasonable warning" and the statute specifically targets "any unnecessary or unreasonably loud or harsh sound by means of a horn or other warning device."

However, a Tuesday Mail Tribune article noted that Oregon Court of Appeals records show appellate judges threw out the tickets in three separate occasions — two in Eugene in 1992 and another in Multnomah County in 2006 — after ruling they violated Oregonians' guarantee of "free expression of opinion."

Even so, the law remains on the books statewide, having never been repealed by the Oregon Legislature or by the initiative process.

— Mark Freeman