NH Supreme Court Rules Fully in Favor of Keene’s Robin Hooders!

Robin Hood

Vindicated!

More than three years after the City of Keene filed suit against Keene’s “Robin Hooders” (the activists who’ve saved motorists from thousands of parking tickets by feeding expired meters), the case has finally come to a close – at least within the New Hampshire court system. In a short four-page order issued just before Christmas, the NH supreme court affirms the Cheshire superior court’s decision to deny the city’s request for an unconstitutional injunction they’ve been begging for since 2013:

taking into consideration the governmental interest that would be served, the trial court weighed the benefits of the requested relief against the effect that relief would have on the respondents’ constitutionally protected speech, and, based upon the factual record before it, exercised its equitable discretion to deny the proposed injunction.

We won! (Again!) Presuming the city gang does not decide to continue lavishing taxpayer dollars on their expensive private attorneys to take the case to federal court, it should end here. We’ve yet to see the total cost of the several court appearances the city has made, but then-city-manager John MacLean admitted in 2013 that the first round (of four) cost about $20,000. Their private attorneys billed them so much, that on this final round at the supreme court they were claiming to have taken the case “pro bono”. Another way to say that is that the city paid tens-of-thousands for the first three rounds in court and got the fourth free.

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

All the while free speech attorney Jon Meyer of Manchester truly did take the Robin Hooders’ case pro-bono, the entire time. His talent is legendary and he not only brilliantly defended the peaceful activists but proved without a doubt that the city’s parking enforcers were dishonest and ridiculous. There was never any evidence presented that the accused Robin Hooders had “threatened, intimidated, or harassed” the city employees. As if to prove how ridiculous their claims were, parking enforcer Jane desperately stated that anything Garret said, even talking to her about the weather, she considered to be “taunting”. It was laughable but also very serious – the city gang was lying to try to get the judge to order us to stay 50 feet away from the enforcers.

Eventually the city whittled their 50 foot request down to 30, then 10-15 feet, then down to anything they could get the court to give them. They also whittled down the number of respondents over time from six to two. At no point was an injunction issued, though Robin Hooding dropped off in frequency during these cases, as most of the respondents had moved away from the area due to life changes.

I’ve been asked to predict what the court would do, and I’ve never claimed to know. Frequently courts do not side with freedom, but I’m grateful when they do. In this case, at every step along the way, the courts of New Hampshire have sided with freedom of speech, over-and-over again denying the city’s request for injunction that was clearly intended to violate our rights. Hopefully the city gang will give up on their futile, expensive quest to stop the peaceful Robin Hooders from continuing to save innocent motorists from the King’s parking tariff. If they appeal to federal court, you’ll find out the details here at Free Keene.

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