A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge for disturbing the peace against well-known Palo Alto panhandler Victor Frost on Monday (Sept. 27).
Frost was arrested Sept. 22, 2009, for allegedly shouting racial epithets at a homeless amputee near Whole Foods Market on Homer Avenue.
He was charged with disturbing the peace and using "words likely to produce an immediate violent reaction." If convicted, he could have received six months in jail, according to Palo Alto police.
Judge Julia Emede dismissed the charge this morning for lack of evidence, according to court papers.
Frost maintained the man was stealing money out of his collection bowl when he left his usual panhandling spot across the street from Whole Foods for a brief period.
Frost left his usual seat across Homer Avenue for an hour or two, at which time another panhandler, an African-American amputee in a wheelchair, claimed the spot, police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ryan said at the time of the arrest. Frost returned and allegedly shouted at the man. A woman called police when she saw Frost berating the man, Ryan said.
Frost will appear in court again on Oct. 4 to continue his challenge against the city for citations that he allegedly violated the city's sit-lie ordinance. The city issued 12 citations but reduced the number to six.
Last week Senior Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin said the city would seek to reduce the six charges, which are misdemeanors, to infractions. Frost said he does not want the charges reduced -- infractions would mean his case would not be heard before a jury -- because he wants his day in court.