The Iowa Supreme Court has tossed out a nothern Iowa man’s bootlegging conviction. In the summer of 1999, Ronald Hobbs applied for a permit to sell beer to RAGBRAI bicyclists making their way through rural Kossuth County, but the permit was denied. When the cyclists came through, though, his son and nephew gave beer to RAGBRAI riders for free, but jars labeled “tips” were on a counter. Hobbs was then charged and convicted of bootlegging and maintaining a liquor nuisance, sentences which carried a few months of jail time. State law says it is a crime to keep beer without a liquor permit with the intent to sell, use or give it away. But the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled state prosecutors failed to provide proof that a tip was required to get the beer — that means the beer wasn’t for sale. And the Court ruled that it wasn’t a crime to give the beer away. The justices said to interpret the law in such a way would make social hosts criminals for giving away beer at their own parties.
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