Man wins 1st Amendment Supreme Court case for being arrested for his city council public input testimony

The SCOTUS opinion was just released on June 18, 2018. ONLY Thomas dissented in this 8-1 decision.



9 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 06.25.18 at 7:50 am

Nationally, there’s an epidemic of retaliatory unsubstantiated arrests. You can always be arrested on trumped up charges. It’s possible to clear yourself but there’s still punishment in the form of litigation time and expense. The political establishment knows they can harass you with thousands in legal cost for a small misdemeanor charge you’re not guilty of. Isn’t it obvious this is not a free country with such tactics in place.

#2 D@ily Spin on 06.25.18 at 7:56 am

It happened to me. It happened to Bruce. It’s happened to many others here. In this environment a drug dealer has more rights than law abiding citizen activists.

#3 Matt Staab on 06.25.18 at 9:33 am

Very interesting reading. Thanks for posting this.

#4 JKC on 06.25.18 at 10:47 am

Justice Thomas and his wife like to travel the country, where they often camp at a Walmart overnight. No, it’s true….. So one should not be surprised that a Walmart camper has the same distain for public input as our former mayor… Come to think of it, is Thomas a South Dakota RV voter?… If not, I am surprised the SD GOP hasn’t tried to recruit him… Because the SD GOP is not much of a fan for public input either…. Just look at how they treat most legislative cracker barrels…..

#5 Bruce on 06.25.18 at 10:57 am

Lozman’s earlier case: http://www.chamberlitigation.com/sites/default/files/scotus/files/Lozman%20v.%20City%20of%20Riviera%20Beach%2C%20FL%20%28U.S.%20Supreme%20Court%29.pdf

#6 Michael L. Wyland on 06.25.18 at 2:45 pm

As the opinion syllabus says, it’s a very narrow case. The case was remanded with instructions for the individual – not the city – to substantiate his allegations that the city had officially decided to retaliate against his previous lawsuit and testimony. The lower court also has to determine whether the individual’s arrest at the meeting was an official city act or merely a response to immediate circumstances.

#7 l3wis on 06.25.18 at 2:55 pm

MW – I think he did prove that the city had a closed door meeting in which they intended to retaliate against him. If you watch the video of the arrest, as one of the justices pointed out, it was pretty clear that Mr. Lozman wasn’t doing anything wrong. In fact, he was dressed in a suit and tie and very calm when discussing the arrest of county officials. He didn’t even resist the arrest. As other public input cases have pointed out, as long as time is afforded to discuss government matters at a public meeting, the 1st Amendment affords the right to say just about anything. Mr. Lozman was simply stating facts about government officials in the county which the city lies in. He wasn’t libelous, he wasn’t threatening and he certainly wasn’t causing disruption or inciting a riot. It was pretty clear he was well within his constitutional rights. This reminds of when a certain public commenter in SF was arrested over a stack of shingles so he couldn’t speak about the problems with the EC siding or when the city council put a doggy fence in council chambers to ‘protect’ them from a person who sued over the unconstitutional red light cameras.

#8 Michael L. Wyland on 06.25.18 at 3:21 pm

You’re right, except that (according to the SCOTUS syllabus) when he started citing officials and events in other jurisdictions, he was told to cease and desist because he was off topic for that city’s business. The issue was whether his comments were germane, not whether he was polite in delivering them. I stand by my point that SCOTUS has set a pretty high bar for him to overcome in pressing his suit any further, and that the case is very narrow – not good precedent for others to cite owing to its specifics.

#9 JKC on 06.25.18 at 4:22 pm

But for the most part aren’t commenters at public input in Sioux Falls “germane” to our City’s business?

When Sierra goes off on a rant about the Holiday Inn Express in this town and SFPD, isn’t she still speaking about a business and a police force within our City’s jurisdiction?

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