UC Davis Free Speech Scholars: Blockade Others at Your Peril

Two highly regarded First Amendment scholars at the U.C. Davis Law School have provided some locally (and generally) needed reminders about the difference between blockading others’ passage from place to place and other exercises in civil disobedience, and activity such as picketing which informs without obstructing or interfering with others’ rights.  The new article is summarized by William Creeley, legal director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, writing in The Moral Liberal. Continue reading

Lawyer Defends Protest Access, Courtroom Closure

Sacramento’s got (legal) talent. Attorney Linda Parisi argued to extend and to limit First Amendment rights in criminal cases one floor apart in the courthouse last Friday, reports Andy Furillo for the Sacramento Bee. In one case she joined other lawyers in defending Occupy protesters arrested for breaking curfew near city hall in downtown’s Chavez Plaza; in the other she argued to exclude the press and public from pretrial hearings in the belated prosecution of a notorious 30-year-old murder. The latter argument didn’t persuade the judge; the former is still before the other judge.

NPR: You Have the Obligation to Remain Silent

National Public Radio, under new leadership after the departure of a top executive who shared the public heat for the firing of Juan Williams for a moment of  candor a year ago, is now under the beginnings of a new siege for telling an opera program producer it would no longer carry her show after she spoke up as a demonstrator at a D.C. area Occupy gathering. One critic in particular calls the move hypocrisy, given NPR’s apparent tolerance in the past for political opinions voiced by several of its top news stars. A question still awaiting an answer: How clearly are those in any contractual relationship with NPR told that their speech, petition and assembly rights must be put on hold?

Open Campus Auxiliary Bill Nears Governor' Desk

OPEN GOVERNMENT — The Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday approved SB 330 – a reintroduction of last year’s SB 218 – to apply
the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to nonprofit 'auxiliary'
organizations that perform government functions at campuses of the University of
California, California State University, and California’s community
colleges, reports the office of Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), author of both bills.

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Report: Crowd Control Increasingly Militarized

FREE ASSEMBLY — When the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Police Department deployed against a crowd of demonstrators a long-range deafening gun used previously by our forces in the streets of Iraq, the "non-lethal" arms escalation became the latest example of using military weapons and principles against civilian demonstrators, writes Justin Rogers-Cooper in the City University of New York Graduate Center's newspaper, the Advocate.

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Court: Police May Arrest Protesters 'on Suspicion'

"The police
have no obligation to order a crowd to disperse before making arrests,
a federal appeals court ruled today, marking a victory for the District
of Columbia in a suit that alleges police unlawfully arrested a group
of demonstrators in January 2005," reports Mike Scarcella in the Blog of the Legal Times.

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