Tag Archives: violated

Judge Rules Occupy Nashville Protesters’ Rights Were Violated

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled in favor of members of the Occupy Nashville movement who claimed their free speech rights were violated when they were arrested while protesting in 2011 on War Memorial Plaza.
U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger wrote in an order issued on Wednesday that the seven plaintiffs’ rights to engage in constitutionally protected free speech activity was violated when they were arrested based on a hastily written rule that banned camping on the plaza.
The plaintiffs sued Gov. Bill Haslam, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Commissioner of General Services Steven Cates. Trauger’s order denied some of the plaintiffs’ claims but also said that they had prevailed in proving that the state officials could be held liable on claims of violations of free speech rights, violation of due process and unlawful arrest.
Following the national Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters began a 24-hour-a-day presence on the plaza outside of the state Capitol in early October 2011. But the state started getting complaints about trash and public urination and other problems. The state then issued a new policy banning overnight camping on the state property.
In the early morning of Oct. 28, 2011, several protesters were arrested, but a local judicial commissioner refused to sign the arrest warrants because there had not been enough notice of the policy change. The following night, more protesters were arrested, but they were released with misdemeanor citations.
Trauger wrote in her order that even though the state had concerns about public safety on the plaza, officials still had to follow the law to address those concerns.
“Instead, without providing adequate notice to the public at large, they informally attempted to change the law overnight, made no record of the proceedings, and failed to consult with the Attorney General, who otherwise must pass on the constitutional validity of any rule (whether adopted through traditional or emergency procedures) before it becomes law,” Trauger wrote.
David Briley, an attorney representing the Occupy Nashville group, called the ruling a resounding victory for the principles of free speech and protest.

FEC Commissioners Agreed That Fincher Violated Law… and Then to Dismiss Complaint

All six Federal Election Commission members endorsed a finding that U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher’s campaign violated campaign disclosure requirements, records released today reveal, according to Bartholomew Sullivan.
But they did it in separate 3-3 votes and it takes four votes to pass a motion.
Ultimately they voted 5-1 to dismiss the complaint filed by Fincher’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Roy Herron, in last year’s 8th Congressional District race. The commission is made up of three Democratic and three Republican members and requires a majority vote to proceed to an investigation.
Fincher’s election law lawyer Elliott S. Berke, released a statement today in response to a request from The Commercial Appeal: “Congressman Fincher and his campaign committee are pleased this matter is now closed and that the FEC, by a vote of 5-1, agreed to do so without any further action.”
Herron also released a statement: “The gospel singer did not tell the gospel truth during the campaign when he repeatedly said the Federal Election Commission had approved of what he’d done.”
Referring to the separate 3-3 findings, in which all six commissioners found Fincher’s committee violated the law, Herron added: “Instead, all six commissioners, including the three Republicans, ruled that he broke federal law. The FEC has now ruled we have a law breaker for a lawmaker.”
The inaction involved the commission’s disagreement over the consequences of the violation. It follows a recommendation by the FEC’s chief lawyers that the commission find that the Fincher committee and its treasurer, Phyllis Patterson, violated the law regarding accurate reporting of a loan when they told the FEC it came from “personal funds” when, in fact, it came from the Gates Banking and Trust Co.