Court DENIES City of Keene’s Injunction Request Against Robin Hooders

Robin Hood of Keene

Robin Hooders Victorious – AGAIN.

It has been a long road, but thanks to free speech attorney Jon Meyer and judge John C Kissinger of the Cheshire superior court, Keene’s Robin Hooders are again victorious! Nearly two years ago, the same court dismissed the two cases brought against the charitable meter-feeders, alleging we were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” their parking enforcement officers and demanding a 50ft floating, constitution-free buffer zone to protect them.

The city appealed to the NH supreme court which ultimately upheld the superior court’s dismissal except for one part. They affirmed the lower court’s ruling to dismiss based on free speech grounds, but said the superior court needed to look at the request for the “buffer zone” injunction separately from the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation, all of which the city failed to prove to the court’s satisfaction.

Thankfully, the superior court agreed with attorney Meyer’s arguments and denied the city’s request for any injunction against us whatsoever! This effectively kills their case, unless they decide to continue spending ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money to appeal this latest failure to the NH supreme court.

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

The city, which had originally wanted a 50 foot floating buffer zone around each enforcer that would prevent all speech and recording by the Robin Hooders, had whittled that down over the 2.5 years this has been in court to a 5-10ft zone that would only be temporary and only if the parking enforcer requested said distance from the Robin Hooder. Mind you, we generally do not wish to be so close to them – it’s best to fill meters at a greater distance, so as to have enough time to fill the meter and leave the Robin Hood calling card on the windshield, BEFORE the parking enforcer catches up to us and gets ahead. That would mean she could successfully write a ticket if she gets ahead, so having distance is my goal, but the enforcer is constantly trying to close that gap, so sometimes we do get within ten feet. That would mean that such an injunction (besides being unconstitutional) would also prevent us from Robin Hooding, as anytime the enforcer managed to close the gap, we’d be subject to arrest for “contempt of court”.

In a fifteen-page order issued on 11/20, Kissinger writes of the city’s request for injunction:

The Court cannot conceive of any more narrow or alternative relief that would provide any meaningful protection to the PEOs without running afoul of the Respondents’ First Amendment rights…the government interests here are not sufficient to warrant an infringement on the Respondents’ First Amendment rights. Any injunction requiring a buffer zone of any meaningful distance would require a significant change in the method used by the Respondents to disseminate their protected speech.

So, despite the city’s interests in their parking enforcement continuing unabated, their significantly-reduced proposal for injunction is still beyond what is constitutionally permissible, and further, the court could not think of any lesser restrictions that would pass constitutional muster.

Kissinger, in his conclusion, does remind the city that if Robin Hooders’ conduct is rising to the level of violating criminal statutes, that they can bring such charges. Of course, the reason they never have brought criminal harassment or assault charges is because Robin Hooders are peaceful. There is zero evidence of “harassment, threatening, or intimidating” – the claims the city has long libeled us with throughout this lawsuit.

Sheriff of Nottingham

The poor, innocent parking enforcers.

In a classic case of projection, the people in this who are actually harassing, threatening, and intimidating others are the parking enforcers. They harass, threaten, and intimidate the good motorists of Keene six days a week by giving them threatening tickets for just trying to do some business downtown. Those tickets threaten, intimidate, and harass their victims into paying their fines so as to avoid the threat of having their car stolen. Talk about intimidation! This is why Robin Hood of Keene exists – we are here to save people from having to deal with the city’s threats. That’s always been the primary motivation, at least for me. I certainly don’t speak for everyone.

If the parking enforcers don’t like being called out for their threatening, intimidating, and harassing behavior, they should get jobs in the productive economy. Until the city council ends the parking department and turns over the spaces to downtown businesses to decide how to administer, per market forces, Robin Hooding will continue to rescue peaceful motorists from the threats of the city government.

The city has 30 days to appeal this latest failure. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

More Mainstream Media Coverage of Portsmouth UBER Controversy

With the protest at the council meeting last night in Portsmouth and the second ticket issued to the Grandma UBER driver, mainstream media continues to report on the situation. Here’s a recent rundown:

First up, FOX 25 in Boston filed this report covering the protest and interviewing new Free State Project mover from Arkansas, Jessica Paxton, last night:
Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Here’s “>NH1’s package, filed prior to the protests: (more…)

Portsmouth Police Target Grandmother UBER Driver AGAIN + City Council Meeting Footage

Illegal UBER Driver Stephanie Franz

Illegal UBER Driver Stephanie Franz, courtesy CBS Boston

In an article at Seacoast Online, Portsmouth acting police chief Frank Warchol uses his best, “I’m just doing my job” excuse for his department targeting 63-year old grandmother Stephanie Franz a SECOND time for what is now a total of $1,500 in two tickets. Franz is accused of driving people somewhere in Portsmouth without the city’s permission slip.

The protectionist racket will continue on unabated after Monday night’s city council meeting, where there were people who testified in favor and against driving freedom. Christopher David had a volunteer read his letter to the council, as he could not attend due to his wife having a baby. Here’s the feed from the council chambers, starting with the people addressing the council:

The second speaker is a taxi company owner who accuses UBER of “stealing” money from him, since he’s obediently jumped through the city’s hoops. However, he does suggest (perhaps sarcastically) to repeal all ordinances so his companies can lower their prices, which I think most libertarians would love to see. After him is a former fireman who suggests that UBER drivers could be a danger to passengers due to misdemeanor convictions which the city’s regulations prohibit within seven years of the background check. He also claims that the state background check is more thorough, but the Free Uber page on facebook says otherwise: (more…)

Robin Hood Case – the Latest Legal Arguments from Both Sides

Wanted Robin HoodThe lawsuit brought originally in 2013 by the “City of Keene” vs several Robin Hooders (people who feed expired meters to save folks from parking tickets) continues onward, with both sides having filed legal memorandums with the Cheshire superior court after a second round of “evidentiary hearings”.

First up, heroic pro-bono free speech attorney Jon Meyer filed this 12-page legal memorandum. Meyer points out that the city’s demand for an injunction against the Robin Hooders would clearly be unconstitutional as it’s directed at specific people and speech. He cites various case law for the court to review, and points out the obvious discrimination and hypocrisy:

If the Defendants had been engaging in demonstrations for the purpose of expressing their support of PEO’s, or were making comments supportive of their job performance, this proceeding would never have been initiated. The videos and other testimony show that other private citizens have emphatically expressed their support for the PEO’s, and their opposition to the Robin Hooders, in some cases physically. No injunction is sought against any of them because they do not convey the Robin Hood message.

Meyer further invalidates the claims of the city that somehow Robin Hooding is a breach of the peace, as claimed by the city’s suit:

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

There is a criminal statute, RSA 644, which addresses and prohibits virtually every type of breach of peace. The fact that no breach of peace, disorderly conduct, or assault prosecution has been brought against any of the Robin Hood Defendants for Robin Hooding is compelling evidence that this asserted interest is not significantly implicated by their activities.

The only episodes in the record that amounted to anything approaching a disturbance of the peace were several incidents in which Robin Hooders were physically assaulted by third parties. Several instances over several years of hundreds if not thousands of Robin Hooding demonstrations hardly amounts to a substantial problem. 2 And even if it were substantial, it would violate the First Amendment to restrict the Defendants’ expression activity because of illegal assaults against them by third parties. This is a classic example of a “heckler’s veto” which is antithetical to the First Amendment because it puts speech, particularly unpopular speech at risk, and, in effect, rewards mob or individual violence.

Meyer points out that just because the parking enforcers may be uncomfortable with some of what has been said to them on the streets does not give the city the right to restrict freedom of speech: (more…)

Rand Paul Interviews Christopher David, Civil Disobedience UBER Driver

He may not be a true libertarian, but Rand Paul scored some points for this video where he interviews and openly supports Christopher David’s UBER civil disobedience, for which Chris is now facing a felony charge. Here’s what Rand posted along with the video:

I met with Christopher David, an Uber driver arrested for trying to make a living. Listen to our interview and stay tuned for the Facebook live stream coming up! Christopher is driving me to my rally in Portsmouth, NH.

Posted by Rand Paul on Friday, November 13, 2015

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