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Case against Photographer Dropped by DA

By Greg Galiffa- Collegian Staff Writer

Penn State student and Daily Collegian photographer Michael Felletter finally got the news he has been waiting a year and a half to hear — charges filed against him stemming from the 2008 riot were dismissed.

In a March 11 press release, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced she filed a motion to drop an appeal for the case, ending a protracted legal battle against Felletter.

“For almost two years now, I’ve been put through this judicial system, and now it is finally done,” Felletter (senior-visual journalism) wrote in an e-mail. “I feel closure.”

Felletter’s sense of closure comes after he was charged with five counts of misdemeanor failure to disperse and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct after taking pictures of a riot that overtook downtown State College after Penn State’s football victory against Ohio State University on Oct. 25, 2008.

Felletter’s case was dropped in January 2009 and re-filed in March with one count of failure to disperse bound over for trial. Centre County Judge David E. Grine dismissed the remaining charge in July 2009, citing unclear evidence. Former Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira then filed an appeal to the State Superior Court following the dismissal, where the case has remained — until now.

Felletter’s attorney Andrew Shubin said he appreciates Parks Miller’s “careful and considerate review” of the case’s record and the constitutional principles involved.

Parks Miller stated in the press release that after reviewing the facts of the case and the issues surrounding it, she found reason to discontinue the appeal. In January, Parks Miller submitted a letter to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania stating that she did not intend to file a reply brief in Felletter’s case.

The letter was filed as a response to Shubin’s contesting the appeal of the case filed by the district attorney, though it did not necessarily mean she was dropping the charges. During her campaign last year, however, Parks Miller called the case a “waste of resources,” Felletter believed it was only a matter of time before the charges were dismissed.

“I kind of knew it was bound to happen, but it was just always there, hanging over my head,” he wrote. “Now it’s finally over and I feel relieved.”