1965 – Arlo Guthrie is arrested for littering

These things happen on Thanksgiving, especially in the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts where this all happened. It’s the kind of town where littering could be the biggest crime of the last twenty years – or at least, it was on November 25, 1965, when Arlo Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins were arrested for illegal dumping of garbage.

Two days later, the case came to court, where the judge, one James Hannon, was blind. Unfortunately for the prosecution, this meant that he was unable to see the “27 8-by-10 color glossy pictures, with the circles and arrows, and a paragraph on the back of each one, explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us“. Nonetheless, Guthrie and Robbins were each fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow.

Later, Guthrie learned that his criminal record (consisting solely of this incident) disqualified him from military service in Vietnam on the grounds that he was not sufficiently moral to be drafted.

Referenced in:

Alice’s Restaurant Massacree – Arlo Guthrie