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INTRODUCTION: Goal: To prepare attorneys to defend the free speech rights of life advocates.

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION: Goal: To prepare attorneys to defend the free speech rights of life advocates."— Presentation transcript:


2 INTRODUCTION: Goal: To prepare attorneys to defend the free speech rights of life advocates.

3 Types of Speech Activities Contemplated:  Picketing  Leafleting  Sidewalk Counseling  Life Chains  40 Days for Life Vigils

4 Constitutional Rights First Amendment –  Primarily, freedom of speech, but also implicating—  Freedom of assembly  Free exercise of religion  Freedom of press (including leafleting)


6 Restrictions on Speech The Types of Fora:

7 Non-Public Forum: Definition: Any property not open to public speech activities. Non-Public Forum Test: Restrictions are constitutional if they are – 1)reasonable; and 2)viewpoint neutral

8 Limited Public Forum Definition: Forum created for a sole, specific purpose, and not generally open for speech Limited Public Forum Test: Restrictions are constitutional if they are reasonable in light of the intended use of the forum, and viewpoint neutral.

9 Designated Public Forum: Definition: Property the State has opened for expressive activity by all or part of the public. Designated Public Forum Test: Restrictions must be 1)content-neutral, 2)narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and 3)leave open alternative channels of communication

10 A public college opens up its campus quad to free speech demonstrations but places the following limitations on speakers:  Cannot create a disturbance,  Cannot interfere with campus activities,  Cannot engage in religious worship or instruction. NO - Court struck the 3rd restriction because once the college created a forum, it could not limit expression to secular content.

11 Public Forum: Traditional public forum: A place where the public generally has unconditional access and which has been held in trust for public use and has been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions. Examples :  Streets  Sidewalks *  Parks *Note: If forum is a sidewalk, it does not matter what public entity owns it.

12 Public Forum: Public Forum Test: Government may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place, or manner of protected speech, provided they are 1)content neutral, 2)narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, 3)leave open ample alternative channels of communication.

13 Public Forum: Content Neutrality 1) The regulation must be justified without reference to content of the speech. Ctr. for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc. v. Los Angeles County Sheriff D..., 533 F.3d 780 (9th Cir. 2008). ACLU v. City of Las Vegas, 466 F.3d 784 (9 th Cir. 2006).

14 Tip: In the Ninth Circuit, the prohibition on content discrimination is enforced very stringently, and usually shows up in the context of exemptions. Ex: City wants to ban all signs except their list of favored uses. This is a good way to show the content-based nature of a restriction.

15 Public Forum: Narrowly Tailored 2) The regulation of speech must be narrowly tailored to achieve a significant government interest Narrowly tailored: Does the regulation prohibit morespeech than necessary? Restrictions which disregard less restrictive and more precise means are not narrowly tailored ACLU v. City of Las Vegas, 466 F.3d 784, 797 (9th Cir. 2006) Project 80's v. Pocatello, 942 F.2d 635 (9th Cir. 1991). McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n, 514 U.S. 334 (1995).

16 Public Forum: Significant Governmental Interest 2) The regulation of speech must be narrowly tailored to achieve a significant government interest Significant government interest: – aesthetics, – public safety, – avoiding voter fraud, – ensuring access to clinics, – orderly flow of traffic, – protecting property rights, etc.

17 Public Forum: Alternatives 3) The regulation of speech must leave open ample alternative channels of communication “If an ordinance effectively prevents a speaker from reaching his intended audience, it fails to leave open ample alternative means of communication.” Edwards v. City of Coeur D'Alene (9th Cir. 2001).

18 Private Property: There is no right to trespass on private property, not open to the public, to deliver message. But…California Law may treat privately owned property, open to the public, as a public forum.

19 Permit Requirements

20 When might I need a Permit?  Sole use of the sidewalk  Event in a park  Group of more than 50 people are participating at once  Use of sound amplification devices

21 Evaluating permitting schemes (1)No overly broad licensing discretion to a government official. (2)Time, place, and manner restrictions must be content neutral. (3)Narrowly tailored to serve significant governmental interest, and (4)Leave open ample alternatives for communication. Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123 (1992)

22 Grounds for Denial  Must set forth the grounds for denying the permit narrowly and specifically--Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 394 U.S. 147 (1969)  Must have evidence to support denial--Desert Outdoor Advertising v. City of Moreno Valley, (9th Cir. 1996).  No unfettered discretion to set cost--Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123 (1992)

23 Permissible Discretion  Note that giving discretion to an official may be allowed, if it is limited by specifically articulated purposes, such as- coordinating multiple uses, preventing unlawful uses, and protecting public safety. Long Beach Area Peace Network v. City of Long Beach, 522 F.3d 1010 (9th Cir. 2008).

24 Specific Pro-Life Activities and Potential Problems

25 Pro-life Activities  Leafleting  Picketing  Chalking  Sidewalk Counseling  Life Chains and Vigils

26 Potential Problems  Be aware of potentially applicable ordinances, such as – – sign ordinances, – permit requirements, – noise restrictions, – obstruction laws, – bubble zones.  Look for the common constitutional pitfalls of each type of law.

27 Sign ordinances  laws limiting size, type, and number of signs  mostly apply to commercial or election signs  cannot discriminate on basis of content

28 Obstruction and Loitering Laws  CAUTION: Be aware of obstruction and anti-loitering laws whenever engaged in activities on public property.  Cities have a significant interest in maintaining free flow of traffic (pedestrian or motor).  Look out for ordinances that give sole discretion to police to decide what constitutes a violation.  Harassment and threats of arrest are common

29 Noise Restrictions  laws limiting the level of noise in certain areas and regulating the use of sound amplification devices

30 California State Laws  Obstructing passage to health care facility – California Penal Code § 602.11 (a)  Trespass – California Penal Code § 602  Interference with business activity – CPC § 602.1  FACE – California Penal Code § 423.2  Vandalism – California Penal Code § 594

31 Local Ordinances  San Marcos Anti-loitering/Trespass  Glendora Mobile Billboard Advertising Prohibition  Laguna Beach Sidewalk Obstruction Law

32 How to find the law Google search for “city” municipal code or “state” criminal code Categories under which applicable ordinances may fall: “public peace,” “miscellaneous,” “public welfare,” “crimes against property,” “access to clinic,” “reproductive health care facility,” “streets,” “sidewalks,” “signs”

33 Bubble Zone Laws or “Mother May I” Laws

34 Bubble Laws  What is a Bubble Law - State statutes and local ordinances that prohibit speech activities within so many feet of abortion clinics.  First arose in Colorado; now exist in Massachusetts, Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburg, and other cities.

35  The general rule applied to all speech restrictions should be applied to bubble/buffer zones. Bay Area Peace Navy v. United States, 914 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1990).  However, bubble zones around abortion clinics are consistently upheld against constitutional challenge, as in Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000). Bubble Laws

36 Compare Edwards v. City of Santa Barbara, 150 F.3d 1213 (9th Cir. 1998) and Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000). - Brown v. City of Pittsburgh, 586 F.3d 263, 279 (3rd Cir. 2009). - McCullen v. Coakley, 571 F.3d 167 (1st Cir. 2009) (cert. denied McCullen v. Coakley, 130 S.Ct. 1881, 2010 U.S. LEXIS 2664 (U.S., Mar. 22, 2010)). The evolution of the Floating Bubble Zone

37 The Oakland Bubble Law ~ The Hoye Cases

38  In 2008, Rev. Hoye was arrested for allegedly violating the Oakland bubble law  In 2009, Rev. Hoye was convicted and jailed for his peaceful actions  On appeal, his conviction was unanimously overturned for a variety of prejudicial errors that occurred during the trial. People v. Hoye, App. Div. No. 4961 (Super. Ct. No. 541279) (Alameda County, August 25, 2010) The Hoye Criminal Case:

39 The Hoye Civil Case:  Hoye filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Oakland bubble ordinance  The Court ruled that the law contained a viewpoint discriminatory provision  In January 2008, Hoye filed suit again raising several new grounds, most notably the fact that the City exempted clinic escorts from the reach of the law  The court upheld the law, Hoye appealed to the Ninth Circuit

40 The Hoye Civil Case:  Last July, the Ninth Circuit reversed.  The two most significant holdings were: 1) The City’s enforcement policy was unconstitutionally content-based 2) The escorts’ conduct of blocking Rev. Hoye from communicating his message from 8 feet away could be considered a special problem rendering the Ordinance unconstitutional as applied to Hoye.


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