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Judge dismisses B&L street dance case

NEW ULM — Five days before they were scheduled for a one-day jury trial, misdemeanor liquor license violation charges involving a July 27 street dance on Minnesota Street, the B & L Bar, Inc. and Ricky A. Kamm were dismissed Friday.

Brown County District Judge Robert Docherty signed an order filed Friday granting defendants’ motions to dismiss for lack of probable cause.

In a memorandum attached to the order, Docherty said there was no testimony establishing the plastic cups officers observed contained alcohol and no evidence showing where the people carrying the cups and beer bottles obtained them.

Docherty said that it is undisputed that the licensee is a corporation, B&L Bar, Inc., not Kamm. “The fact that Mr. Kamm is a shareholder and owner of the corporation does not alter the fact that he is not the licensee and cannot be charged under Section 5.13.2.

‘We obviously agreed with the Court. We think it reached the right conclusion and hope this will end the matter. The order speaks for itself. There is no evidence to support a prosecution here,” said New Ulm defense attorney Dustan Cross.

Charges were filed against the bar and Kamm Sept. 11. At an Oct. 4 arraignment, Kamm said he wished to plead not guilty and requested a jury trial set for Wednesday, Nov. 20.

At the hearing, Cross said the charges were defective, that witnesses didn’t provide sufficient probable cause and the case was selective prosecution.

According to court documents, New Ulm Police officers Chris Lee and Tara Martin were on foot patrol at about 10:45 p.m. July 27 when they observed a large crowd in the street, outside the B & L Bar.

Lee testified he and Martin talked to a few people who went into the B & L and Mowan’s Bar after they were told they could not drink alcoholic beverages in the street.

Police found B & L Bar owner Ricky Kamm who worked at the bar during the dance. Kamm said he would have those who were drinking alcoholic beverages come back closer to the bar.

Police said they saw several people walking downtown with open bottles or partially-consumed alcoholic drinks.

Lee testified he told people with drinks to stay within 4 feet of the front of the B & L Bar, which was the maximum distance allowed according to a liquor license granted to the bar.

Under cross examination from Cross, Lee testified that the drinks were not seized or tested and the people holding them were not cited.

A street dance witness, Elliot Braulick, testified he didn’t recall seeing people with beer bottles, saw some people with drinks in cups but wasn’t sure if they were in the street or in the “sidewalk cafe” outside the bar.

Braulick testified he saw Kamm come out of the bar and tell people to stand behind the curb in front of the bar.

According to the complaint, Braulick was interviewed by police a couple days after the dance and said he saw alcohol being passed around and knew there was alcohol in the street. Braulick and another witness Janette Koehler, said they took beverages from the B & L Bar outside the licensed area.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com)

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