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Student charged after his allegedly 'racist' phone call with mom is overheard. Here's the ruling.

A University of Vermont student was charged with disorderly conduct after being overheard in a library allegedly making racist, threatening comments against blacks during a phone call with his mother. The judge threw out the case Tuesday, ruling the allegations against the defendant were not serious enough to be a crime. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A University of Vermont student apparently was overheard in the school library allegedly using racist, threatening language toward black people during a phone conversation with his mother last fall.

Three people allegedly were in the multimedia room with the continuing education student during the phone call — and one of them reported the conversation to authorities.

The college's police chief sent an all-campus email Oct. 5, four days after the threat was reported, saying authorities were told about the overheard phone call "in which a then-unidentified person allegedly used explicitly racist and threatening language directed toward African Americans and general diversity initiatives on campus," the Burlington Free Press reported.

With that, the student was charged with disorderly conduct, WCAX-TV reported, and his case was prosecuted in court.

What was the judge's ruling?

Judge David Fenster threw out the case Tuesday, ruling the allegations against the defendant were not serious enough to be a crime, the paper reported.

Turns out that after the first person reported hearing the conversation, the second person in the room indicated hearing nothing noteworthy, and the third person in the room wouldn't talk to investigators, the station said.

Image source: WCAX-TV video screenshot

How did prosecutors react to the ruling?

"It is what it is," Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George told WCAX. "We put our best case forward. The judge looked at the law. We see it differently, but that's what the process is for."

George added to the station that she still endorses the decision to file the charge: "What we allege he did, we still allege he did. It just didn't rise to the level of a hate crime."

Image source: WCAX-TV video screenshot

She also told the Free Press that if additional information surfaces that could lead to a probable cause finding, her office could refile the charge.

What did the defendant's lawyer say?

"This opinion is a victory for the First Amendment. This opinion is a victory for free speech on university campuses," attorney Ben Luna told WCAX, adding that "the University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Police ... and the Chittenden State's Attorney's Office all overextended their constitutional power in this case in bringing this charge against my client."

Image source: WCAX-TV video screenshot

Luna's client, Wesley Richter — who has since left the college — has maintained his innocence, the paper reported. Luna told the Free Press that the phone conversation contained no threats.

Image source: WCAX-TV video screenshot

"This is a case that never should have been brought against him," Luna added to the station.

What else do we know about the alleged phone conversation?

Police, prosecutors and university officials have declined to release details about the alleged phone chat, the paper reported, and an affidavit that would have revealed them was never made public since the judge never found probable cause.

And while the judge's ruling was sealed, prosecution and defense lawyers confirmed it, the Free Press said.

(H/T: Campus Reform)

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