Court to lemonade protesters: Urine trouble!

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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Three activists arrested for selling 10 cent cups of lemonade on the lawn of the Capitol building in August are facing up to one year in jail for their thirst-quenching crimes.

Will Duffield, Meg McLain and Kathryn Dill pleaded not guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Oct. 4 to “sale of goods on U.S. Capitol grounds” — a crime that carries a 180-day maximum prison sentence.

The three face an additional 180 days in jail after refusing to submit to a urine test and being held in contempt of court.

The urine sample was part of a program to avoid going to trial, but the lemonistas said it was a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. They also said it was inappropriate because the accused are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“First of all, we want to go to trial because we feel we’ve done nothing illegal,” McLain said. “Second, it’s a Fourth Amendment issue: We shouldn’t be compelled to hand over samples of our urine if we’ve done nothing to give probable cause of drug use.”

Duffield, McLain and Dill were arrested on Aug. 20 for selling lemonade on the West Lawn of the Capitol as part of National Lemonade Freedom Day — a nation-wide protest formed in response to a recent rash of children’s lemonade stands being shut down by police.

The three were originally cited and released for failure to obey an officer, disorderly conduct and vending without a permit. Vending on the lawn of the Capitol is not allowed.

The three have also been banned from U.S. Capitol grounds.

“We have an inherent right that we should be able to sell goods and services with other voluntary individuals that want to participate without having any problem or having to ask permission,” Robert Fernandes, the organizer of the national event, said in a statement. “When you shut down a little kid’s lemonade stand, what happens is you’re basically telling them they can’t do anything — they can’t follow their dreams, set a goal and achieve that goal without getting permission from the government first.”

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C.J. Ciaramella