After multiple court decisions favoring Keene liberty activists, the wins just keep coming, now with the US Court of Appeals (1st Circuit) ruling in favor of Free State Project president Carla Gericke in her case against multiple Weare police officers, the Weare PD, and the Town of Weare.
The case dates back to 2010 where Carla was arrested for recording a traffic stop in Weare (home of notoriously corrupt police who have arrested other activists for the same). Police dropped the charges against Carla before trial, which included a “wiretapping” charge. Carla, with the help of liberty attorney Seth Hipple, sued in federal district court. Her suit alleged the Weare police violated her rights, particularly those ostensibly protected by the 1st amendment to the US constitution. Weare PD motioned the district court for “summary judgement” based on claimed “qualified immunity” protecting the officers from liability. The district court denied them qualified immunity, so Weare’s attorneys filed an “interlocutory appeal” to challenge the district court’s decision.
Oh, and guess who is Weare’s attorney in this case? None other than Charles P. Bauer, the very same Charles Bauer who cashed in (and continues to cash in) on the City of Keene’s failed lawsuits against Robin Hood of Keene.
The 1st Circuit US Court of Appeals is the same court from which the Glik decision emanated. Glik is cited multiple times in the 21-page Gericke decision as evidence that the right to record government workers, especially police, is protected by the 1st amendment. The court’s decision makes it clear that the officers do not have “qualified immunity” because they, were they acting as reasonable officers, should have recognized Carla’s right to record the scene.
The appeals court ruled in Carla’s favor and now the case goes back to federal district court to proceed ahead in civil court, with the officers not protected from liability by “qualified immunity”, a protective shield typically given to bureaucrats supposedly to protect them from personal liability from mistaken decisions. Unless the case is settled by the town of Weare or PD, it will proceed. Stay tuned for the latest.