At 1 PM today US District Court Judge Robert J, Bryan granted a temporary restraining order to the legal team representing myself and Occupy Seattle protesters. The TRO immediately suspends the Washington State Patrol’s policy of banning demonstrators from the state capitol campus and surrounding parks. This ruling applies to people who have not been charged with any crime.
Now I can go back to the state capitol to participate in the protests and report on the activities there without facing the threat of arrest for criminal trespass!
This is a class action civil rights lawsuit.
The restraining order will be in effect until January 5th. During this time, people who have received the trespass warnings will be allowed on the state capitol campus property and surrounding parks to attend the ongoing demonstrations taking place during the current special legislative session.
Demonstrators who defied the WSP order and were subsequently arrested will still be subject to a one year ban unless their cases are now dropped. I hope all charges are dropped by prosecutors. This would be the only justice if Judge Bryan rules the bans were unconstitutional from the beginning.
The attorneys have argued that the “Trespass Warnings” being issued by the Washington State Patrol are a violation of the First and the Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.
I maintain that placing restrictions on people’s freedom of movement in this way violates their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and in my case, freedom of the press. The attorneys are also arguing that the bans have been forced on people without due process of law – a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Judge Bryan has scheduled another hearing for January 5th. At that time the court will consider the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction.
A temporary victory for the First Amendment!