A legal battle continues more than nine months after three members of a Moscow family were charged for allegedly purchasing and posting about 89 “Soviet Moscow” stickers on city of Moscow and private properties downtown.
Rory Wilson, 19, and his juvenile brother were each charged Oct. 10 with a misdemeanor count of “No Posting on Fences or Buildings or Poles” under Moscow City Code, and their father, Nathan Wilson, 42, was charged with misdemeanor “Principal to No Posting on Fences or Buildings or Poles” under the same city code, as well as Idaho code.
Rory and Nathan Wilson pleaded not guilty on Oct. 22 to their alleged offenses.
After subpoenas, motions, orders and several other actions over the subsequent months, Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall on June 18 denied Rory and Nathan Wilson’s motions to dismiss the charges. Marshall decided the city code language prohibits the defendants’ conduct and neither the code nor the prosecution violate the defendants’ constitutional rights — both points the defense argued in its motions to dismiss.
The defense, represented by Lewiston attorney Samuel Creason, filed on July 2 a motion to appeal Marshall’s decision to Latah County Second District Court. A motion hearing for Nathan and Rory Wilson is scheduled for Aug. 6 in front of District Court Judge John Judge.
According to Marshall’s written decision, which included the facts of the case, Moscow police officers were dispatched to a report of two males placing “Soviet Moscow” stickers in the early morning hours of Oct. 6 in downtown Moscow. Officers made contact with Rory Wilson and his younger brother, who both informed officers they placed stickers, including on signs and poles, as a form of legal protest.
The court documents said Rory Wilson carried a pail containing red vinyl stickers displaying a hammer and sickle symbol akin to the USSR with the words “Soviet Moscow” or “Soviet Moscow: Enforced Because We Care.” The youngest Wilson had several of the same stickers in his pockets. He said his father, Nathan Wilson, purchased the stickers, the documents said.
The stickers were developed in protest of Moscow’s face covering/social distancing order, which the Moscow City Council terminated in May.
The stickers appeared to mock the city’s “Mask Moscow: Enforced Because We Care” signs that were placed on the edges of town.
Officers searched the area and found about 89 of the “Soviet Moscow” stickers on city property and private property, including on parking signs, traffic and street lights, benches, newspaper kiosks, crosswalk lights, light poles, historical district signs, bike racks, trees, trash cans, concrete parking barriers, a U.S. mailbox and a utility box, the documents said.
Nathan Wilson informed officers he was aware his sons were going to put up the stickers but encouraged them not to place them on private property. The documents said the officers allowed the three to leave the scene together and did not issue a citation or arrest them. They were, however, cited four days later.
Four chalk drawings that mirrored the “Soviet Moscow: Enforced Because We Care” stickers were drawn in March downtown. Moscow Police Capt. Will Krasselt, who recently retired, said at the time that one of the drawings was on the sidewalk outside City Hall, two were at Friendship Square and one was on the corner of Third and Main streets.