The state of Arizona dropped all charges against a former Arizona State University (ASU) student who was convicted of trespassing after handing out pocket Constitutions on campus, the Liberty Justice Center (LJC) announced on Monday.
LJC filed an appeal on behalf of Tim Tizon in January, challenging the conviction he received after he refused to stop passing out pocket Constitutions on the ASU Tempe campus in March 2022 on behalf of the activist organization Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). Arizona dropped the charges, relieving Tizon of the conviction and sentence which had included a fine and community service, according to the press release.
“What could be more obviously constitutional than handing out copies of the Constitution? We’re pleased the State has finally recognized the force of our arguments, but now we expect ASU to update its policies to fully protect the rights of all students to speak on campus,” Jacob Huebert, LJC President, said in the press release.
Tizon had been a student at the time of the arrest, YAL and LJC previously confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation. He had set up a table featuring YAL’s logo on the North Plaza to distribute pocket Constitutions when he was told by officials he was violating the school’s “reservation policy” and that he had to remain in an area designated for free speech, according to a January press release.
“Free Speech is the cornerstone of American values,” Tizon said, according to LJC. “It is refreshing to see that the Arizona justice system finally recognizes this after more than a year of wrongful prosecution.”
An ASU spokesperson previously denied to the DCNF that the campus has “free speech zones” and clarified that Tizon “was not arrested for handing out Constitutions on campus.”
“He refused to vacate a spot reserved for student and other university group tabling events,” the spokesperson previously said. “Individuals who do not have a reservation are asked to relocate to a space not designated as reservable. Mr. Tizon was given numerous opportunities to relocate, but he refused. He was then trespassed and cited by university police, as authorized under Arizona Law.”
JP Kirby, YAL Director of Student Rights, said in the LJC press release that ASU “has used its speech and assembly restrictions to harass activists such as Tim for years.”
“ASU officials showed how much more the school values its own bureaucratic processes than the freedom of its students,” Kirby said. “I’m glad to see the state acknowledge that Tim’s rights outweigh the school’s desire to prosecute a student trying to share the Constitution with his classmates.”
LJC, YAL and ASU did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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