• News
  • SAN DIEGO
  • Law

Santa Cruz wins free-speech case over Nazi salute

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal jury determined Wednesday that the rights of a critic of the Santa Cruz City Council were not violated when he was ejected from a city council meeting for giving a Nazi salute.

Jurors found no violations of Robert Norse's First and Fourth Amendment rights when he was thrown out of the 2002 meeting, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/Uai6Je).

Norse, who made the salute after the council stopped a woman from speaking, said it was in protest of the mayor cutting off the speaker. But during 10 years of legal battles, the city argued the salute was part of an organized effort to disrupt the meeting.

The trial came after a judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2007 and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. But an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit agreed to rehear the case, and later decided to reinstate the lawsuit, ruling that U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte in San Jose needed to hear more evidence.

Santa Cruz City Attorney John Barisone said the jury's decision vindicated the city, which argued that Norse was ejected for interrupting the meeting by trying to elicit a response from council members after a public comment period had passed.

The jury's decision means the city will not have to pay damages or attorney's fees to Norse, which could have cost several hundred thousand dollars.

Norse's attorney, David Beauvais, said he would file a motion for a new trial.

___

Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com

Leave Your Comment

Comments are moderated by SDDT, in accordance with the SDDT Comment Policy, and may not appear on this commentary until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

SDDT Comment Policy: SDDT encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give SDDT the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. SDDT Privacy Statement.

User Response
0 UserComments

Leave Your Comment

Comments are moderated by SDDT, in accordance with the SDDT Comment Policy, and may not appear on this commentary until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

SDDT Comment Policy: SDDT encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give SDDT the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. SDDT Privacy Statement.

Subscribe Today!