More than three years after the City of Keene filed suit against Robin Hood of Keene, the parties in the case have filed what should be their final legal arguments at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Robin Hooders are the activists who have made international headlines for saving thousands of innocent motorists from parking tickets in the small city of Keene.
The city’s persecution of the peaceful activists has failed at nearly every legal turn. In its first visit to the NH Supreme Court, only one aspect of the city’s harassing case was sent back to the superior court for review. The city gang then lost again at the superior court level and are now appealing that most recent decision to the Supreme Court.
The NH Supreme court has already decided the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation were unfounded and the activities engaged in by the Robin Hooders are protected by the first amendment.
The appeal is for the Supreme court to look ONLY at the lower court’s ruling regarding the request for the “buffer zone” injunction. In their 50 page brief filed with the court in late May, the city, in a footnote, withdraws their request for an injunction against me and Garret Ean. I hardly ever Robin Hood and Garret doesn’t even live in Keene anymore!
In a 34 page brief filed by our pro-bono free speech attorney Jon Meyer, he points out, using the Parking Enforcers’ own testimony, that there was at no point any kind of threat or even a safety concern:
Question: If any of the Defendants did something which you thought created a danger to themselves or others, should you not report it to the City?
Answer: I would report it to the City.
Question: And have you ever had occasion to make any such report?
Further, it’s clear from the testimony of the parking enforcers that it’s the content of Robin Hooders’ speech that they object to:
The PEO allegedly harassed by Freeman, acknowledged that it is not uncommon for members of the public to come up and speak to her at close range, closer than Freeman, and she does not find that problematic. Her principal concern with the Robin Hooders is what they said to her and their tone. The other PEO testified that her objection was to what she viewed as “taunting” which included “anything that comes out of his [Ean’s] mouth.”…Again, as in the
original set of hearings, the City failed to present any testimony from police or other safety official substantiating public safety or traffic concerns.
Finally, Meyer concludes:
As a matter of First Amendment law as well as equitable balancing, the restrictions proposed excessively burdened the Defendants’ right to directly express “an uncomfortable message” public employees not receptive to that message.
Meyer has requested oral arguments in front of the NH Supreme Court. As always, stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.