Arrested photographer gets free-speech friend: the federal government

, The National Law Journal

   | 5 Comments

The U.S. Department of Justice has taken the rare step of intervening in a civil rights dispute in Maryland, arguing that a photographer's recording of police activity in public was constitutionally protected conduct.

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What's being said

  • Howard T. Spence

    Police departments across the country are continually looking to local governments to enact ordinances or statutes criminalizing otherwise innocent behaviors - not so much for legitimate public protection and safety purposes, but often more for the purpose of giving law enforcement "more and better tools" to control public situations where the police want to be able to make a few arrests to disperse crowds (most often onlookers). Local government entities need also to be more skeptical of such requests from police authorities to make sure that laws enacted as criminal behaviors justifying arrests and criminal records for citizens are in compliance with the general rule of law and constitutional civil liberties and rights of citizens and that any such laws enacted are transparent as to the actual need or basis for their enactment.

    The potential liability for capitulation by local governments to the unquestioned requests for new criminal laws and arrest authorities is significant, as is underscored in the government's memo of interest which Mr. Scarella reports of here.

  • Fred Henderson Esq

    This is about time and should become country wide precedent but is a start in the right direction. The judges ruling will be crucial as well as his written opinion. The Govt's move in this case was timely and important,if the ruling is unfavorable to the plaintiff then an appeal is warranted.

  • Mark Kalan

    Patricia Kane, ~ "in the discharge of his official duties and responsibilities as an employee of Montgomery County. His actions were performed in good faith and with the objectively reasonable belief that his acts were lawful and constitutional."

    WHAT A LOAD OF "MALARKY"

  • joanne denison, atty chicago

    If you would like to see my blog that speaks out against probate court corruption and the ARDC complaint against me merely for blogging, go to www.marygsykes.com. thanks

  • joanne denison, atty chicago

    Unfortunately, it seems that First Amendment rights are being lost and degraded every single day by the clout and the powers that be.
    Who could possible put a member of the press in a choke hold and drag him across the street for merely recording the arrest of two suspects?
    I myself am embroiled in a First Amendment dispute because I speak out against corruption in the courts of Illinois. The Illinois ARDC is after me for that.
    Maybe I have not been in a choke hold or dragged across the street, but my life seems to be that way.
    I work long hard hours without compensation to protect probate court abuse victims. I publish their stories on my blog to give them some relief. Then blam, along comes the attys who churn the bills, greed and evil in probate and file complaints against me saying my blogging clients are liars and I am too--event though I publish the court documents, the declarations affidavits and all evidence showing its the corruption of the court system and tied in lawyers--and yet I get a complaint.
    Write your congressperson, write the Illinois ARDC and tell them you will not stand for corruption in the court system and violations of my First Amendment rights. Maybe the DOJ won't help with my case, but they should.
    The First Amendment is apparently a precious right that is being erroded by one corrupt govt official at a time.

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