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The Judge said it finally! What every authoritarian shudders to think when people start thinking about exercising their free speech rights.

THE PUBLIC PLAZA IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE TO PROTEST THERE!
THE PUBLIC PLAZA IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE TO PROTEST THERE!
THE PUBLIC PLAZA IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE TO PROTEST THERE!
THE PUBLIC PLAZA IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE TO PROTEST THERE!
THE PUBLIC PLAZA IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE TO PROTEST THERE!

There are no free speech zones at city hall.

You don't need a permit to go to your government seat to say, "Wait a minute I want my opinion to be considered as well."

This is the United States of America. We have a Bill of Rights. And the first one covers this point exactly:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If we want to stand outside and mic check the quarterly earnings of Exxon while standing at city hall there is no legal way for our government to stop us.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW (PDF)

BE IT REMEMBERED that on December 21, 2011, the court called the above-styled cause for bench trial. Plaintiffs Rodolfo Sanchez ("Sanchez") and Kristopher Sleeman ("Sleeman") and Defendant City of Austin (the "City") appeared in person or by counsel. Having carefully considered the evidence presented at trial, the parties' stipulated facts, the case law applicable to this action, the argument of counsel, and the parties' post-trial letters, the court concludes that the City's policy on issuing criminal-trespass notices violates Plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution. In so deciding, the court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

1 Jurisdiction and Venue

The court has jurisdiction over this cause as Plaintiffs' claims arise under the United States Constitution and federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Venue is proper because the underlying events giving rise to this action occurred in the Austin Division of the Western District of Texas, which is also the City's primary place of business. All findings of fact contained herein that are more appropriately considered conclusions of law are to be so deemed. Likewise, any conclusion of law more appropriately considered a finding of fact shall be so deemed.

Facts

The following facts incorporate those stipulated by the parties.
It has always been the City's intent to hold out the City Hall Plaza (the "Plaza") to the public as a free-speech venue without limiting speech to particular subjects. The City's policy regarding public use of the Plaza and other areas of City Hall expressly designates the Plaza, including the mezzanine and amphitheater areas, as a free-speech venue. The Plaza is accessible to the public 365 days a year. No permit is required to use the Plaza, but citizens may make reservations.2 Events in the Plaza sometimes host hundreds or more people. Frequent use of the Plaza for public events is exactly what the City expected and intended to happen when the Plaza was designed.

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