Correction: Councilman Rick Dow said he had talked to Brian Lilletvedt about representing him, but instead has hired attorney Lindsay Lorang.
After running for Havre City Council on his opposition to the new ordinance banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, council member Rick Dow appeared in City Court today to plead not guilty to breaking the same law.
Following his plea, he announced his intention to hire an attorney, Brian Lilletvedt. City Judge Margaret Hencz scheduled an omnibus hearing in one month, on June 21. Dow also requested trial by jury.
“I feel that this will be dismissed and will hopefully address the challenges of this hastily conceived ordinance,” Dow said after his hearing.
A few weeks ago, according to Dow’s recollection of events, he was driving south on 5th Avenue, having just picked his children up from school. He grabbed his phone from his dashboard, not to answer a call or anything, and was gesticulating with it in his hand, which the officer mistook for use of an electronic communication device.
“I don’t feel that this is necessary,” Dow added.
Dow was not the only one in City Court today defending themselves in the face of these charges.
Eric Olson also pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial, claiming afterwards that he too was only holding the phone in his hand, not using it. Olson’s omnibus hearing was scheduled for June 7, where he will also be represented by Lilletvedt.
Before the hearing began, as he was seated in City Court, Olson was overheard explaining to someone on his cellphone, his problem with the law’s logic.
“You can have a burger in your hand. You can have a Subway sandwich in your hand,” Olson said . “But it’s illegal to have a cellphone in your hand.”