The local courts took on the feel of a trading pit Friday, as dozens of people busted at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival wheeled and dealed with prosecutors to get their cases resolved.
Charged with a misdemeanor? For a $200 fine and $117 in court costs, you could plead guilty or no contest and walk away with no jail time or probation.
For an additional $100, you could get prosecutors to drop the charge by granting a diversion. That offer was good only for those with no criminal history and able to pay the entire sum on the spot.
Roughly 70 people were scheduled to appear at Friday's District Court docket, which was set up especially for those arrested at Wakarusa. The smell of patchouli oil floated through the hallways. Signs directed defendants to one of two courtrooms based on their last names.
"Our objective is just to handle the volume," Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said.
Branson gave the following figures:
¢ Thirty-one people had their cases resolved - almost all of them through a diversion, but a few through pleas.
One man, for example, was charged with possession of marijuana, LSD and drug paraphernalia - all misdemeanors - as well as a felony drug-tax violation. Prosecutors agreed to drop the felony charge if he pleaded no contest to the three misdemeanors. He agreed and was ordered to pay $717 total.
¢ Eleven people failed to appear and will have warrants issued for their arrest.
¢ Twelve people said they planned to contest the charges and had their cases continued.
¢About 15 people appeared but were told they weren't going to be charged Friday. Branson said most of those cases were felony drug cases in which prosecutors were awaiting lab tests.
"We had to send the mushrooms and LSD to the lab - the ecstasy and all that," he said.
Judge Robert Fairchild heard cases in one courtroom; attorney Angela Stoller, acting as a judge pro tem, heard cases in another.
Jonathan Tunney, 18, Chicago, was charged with possession of marijuana after being caught in a surprise Kansas Highway Patrol check lane near the festival.
More about Wakarusa Fest arrests
He drove from Chicago to Lawrence on Thursday to take care of his case. He left the courthouse Friday with diversion papers rolled up in his hand and $417 less in his pocket.
"I'm happy it turned out like this, but I think it was bogus in general," he said.
Branson estimated about 40 percent of the cases heard Friday involved minors caught in possession of alcohol. Prosecutors warned people that if they were convicted of that charge, the state would suspend their driving privileges for 30 days.
They also warned people that a conviction would be added to their criminal history, turning up on background checks.
Based on Branson's figures, the docket generated more than $11,000 in fines, court costs and diversion fees. The fines go to the state general fund, the court costs go to the court and the diversion fees go to the county's general fund, Branson said.
Wakarusa Festival 2006
More about the Wakarusa Festival
- 6News video: Clean-up crews picking up after weekend festival (06-12-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa Festival arrests scheduled to appear Friday (06-12-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa festival winds down (06-11-06)
- 6News video: Heat beats down on Wakarusa (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Businesses benefiting from festival (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Law enforcement keeping eye on illegal substances (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa swings into gear (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Traffic snarls grip festival (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Sweep yields drug arrests (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Apartment complex blocked by traffic (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Checklanes check out festival-goers (06-07-06)
- 6News video: Staff, volunteers, vendors prepare for flood of visitors (06-07-06)
- Wakarusa inspections infuriate the ACLU (06-13-06)
- Police activity, arrests increase at Wakarusa (06-13-06)
- Police presence dampened fest, campers say (06-12-06)
- Wakarusa hits high note (06-11-06)
- Norway's Hurra Torpedo plays everything but the kitchen sink (06-11-06)
- Concert creates good vibes for area businesses (06-10-06)
- Logistical problems strike sour note for some (06-10-06)
- Medical personnel see variety of ailments (06-10-06)
- More than Lip service (06-10-06)
- Lawrence drummer adjusts to gig with the Lips (06-10-06)
- Sitar player carves out own La La land in music industry (06-10-06)
- Festival in full gear (06-09-06)
- Delay doesn't dampen spirits (06-09-06)
- Medical tent may curb trips to LMH (06-09-06)
- Youngsters walk through traffic to tae kwon do (06-09-06)
- Women of Wakarusa (06-09-06)
- The Mutaytor brings circus atmosphere to outdoor fest (06-09-06)
- Traffic problems arise at Wakarusa fest (06-08-06)
- Highway patrol drug check greets fans on way to fest (06-08-06)
- State rains on Wakarusa parade (06-08-06)
- Scattered by Hurricane Katrina, band remains intact (06-08-06)
- Walkin' Wakarusa (06-08-06)
- Police checkpoint near Wakarusa causing a stir (06-07-06)
- Partiers take note: Police presence at Wakarusa Fest to double this year (05-04-06)
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 4
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 3
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 2
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 1
- Wakarausa Festival 2006 - Pre-Fest