Scottsdale activist arrested at council meeting after free-speech showdown

by John Washington on February 9, 2017

California attorney David Snyder, executive director for the First Amendment Coalition, said a city can dictate the amount of time given to each public speaker but must keep subject-matter restrictions very narrow.

“The idea that a citizen is not permitted to talk about election issues at a public forum runs counter to pretty basic First Amendment principles,” Snyder said. “I don’t see how a citizen’s comment about an election-related matter can be equated with the city itself using city resources to influence an election.”

As a best practice, governments should be generous in allowing public speech even if it technically strays from the body’s jurisdiction, Snyder said.

“The potential cost to a speaker’s First Amendment right is not generally worth the lost three minutes of time that the council may have,” Snyder said. “Let the person talk for three minutes and then tell them your time is up, you need to leave.”

Source: Scottsdale activist arrested at council meeting after free-speech showdown

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael J. Norton February 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm

One more lawyer weighs in on the issue – and the count is now 8 to 1 with Bruce Washburn being the only lawyer who thinks it was o.k. to arrest Mark Stuart. Suppressing free speech in a public forum can only be allowed in the most remarkable circumstances.

Washburn understands that – he just doesn’t care.


John Washington February 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Washburn is on record as saying that his job is not to tell the council what’s right or wrong, but rather to tell them how to do what they want to do. He may as well be working for the mafia.


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