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November 1, 2011
BART talks on cell phone blackouts extended
The proposed cell-service interruption policy would restrict such shutdowns to instances when "there is strong evidence of imminent unlawful activity that threatens the safety of passengers, employees and other members of the public, the destruction of (BART) property or the substantial disruption of public transit services."
‘Hate-crime’ allegations stand in AG cross-burning case A San Luis Obispo County judge ruled Monday that four people charged with burning a cross near a mixed-race family’s Arroyo Grande home are not protected by freedom of speech, and the charges against them will include “hate-crime” enhancements. (Santa Maria Times)
House introduces Internet piracy bill
House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would expand the ability of federal law enforcement to shut down foreign Web sites and services that that use counterfeited or pirated content created by U.S. firms.
Court overturns woman's horn-honking conviction
The case of a Snohomish County woman who was jailed for honking her horn in a dispute with a neighbor has been overturned by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that the county's ordinance on horn-honking was overbroad.
Judge: Fired LSU scientist has First Amendment claim A scientist who said shoddy levee work caused Hurricane Katrina’s devastating floods wasn’t required to keep quiet about his work for Louisiana State University because he wasn’t speaking as a school employee, a federal judge has ruled. (AP)
N.Y. high court rebukes state agency over FOI case New York’s top court chided a state agency and warned others on Oct. 25 after what judges called a costly, unnecessary fight to withhold public records sought under the Freedom of Information Law. (AP)
Lawyers in Boston terror trial ask judge to instruct jury on 1st Amendment free speech right On Wednesday, his lawyers filed court documents asking Judge George O’Toole Jr. to tell the jury that the right to free speech includes the right to advocate force or violence, unless the speech is likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”(AP)Press
Lawsuit: L.A. County deputies harass news photographers The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department yesterday, claiming the law enforcement agency is harassing news photographers and other people who take pictures in public places. (AP)
Op-ed:Pakistani reporter’s chilling question reminds us of our freedom What do you say to a journalist who asks your advice on how to avoid his own murder?(FAC)
Op-ed: Fighting Over Online Sex Ads Before you head out for the lanterns and pitchforks, it’s worth remembering that a free press is not free. One of the offshoots of free speech is that it will be used to pernicious ends.(NYT)
Judge hears challenge to Fla. religion amendment A proposed state constitutional amendment that would repeal Florida's ban on public financial aid to religious organizations should be stripped from the November 2012 ballot, a teacher's union lawyer argued Thursday. (AP)
Court of Appeals: Kentucky can credit 'Almighty God' for homeland security
The state can continue giving official credit for its homeland security to Almighty God, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday in a decision overturning a lower-court ruling.
Op-ed: Religion at the Ballot Box If politicians say their religion guides them, and influential ministers have a litmus test for candidates’ “biblical values,” it’s fair to ask: Which politicians espouse policies that align with Christianity? How so? (NYT)
Appeals court: Judge can use Islamic law The Islamic Center of Tampa had filed the petition in March in which it contested Nielsen's decision to use "ecclesiastical Islamic law" in the case. (UPI)
Muslim sues bottling company over prayer time A former delivery driver has filed a federal lawsuit against a soda bottling plant in Harvey that allegedly fired him shortly after he asked to time his lunch break to attend weekly Islamic prayers at a mosque. (CT)
Tenn. town partially removes cross from water tower The mayor of Whiteville has partially removed a cross that was on top of the city’s water tower after a religious-freedom group threatened to file a lawsuit. (AP)Assembly
Occupy Nashville protesters sue governor over curfew Occupy Nashville protesters are suing Gov. Bill Haslam over a new curfew on the grounds around the Capitol that has been used to dislodge their camp and arrest demonstrators. The lawsuit claims the curfew was created without following required procedures, and its enforcement violates the protesters rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and due process. (AP)
Volunteer lawyers help 'Occupy' protesters through legal system As copycat Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country confront the legal tangles that come with a nationwide sit-in-style protest, a growing army of First Amendment-loving lawyers is shepherding the demonstrators through the legal system at no charge. (McClatchy Newspapers)
Injured Occupy Oakland protester should make full recovery, roommate says.
An Iraq War veteran badly injured when police stormed an Occupy Oakland encampment last week is expected to make a full recovery, his roommate said Sunday.
Scott Olsen, 24, was badly hurt when he was hit in the head by a tear-gas canister fired by police trying to control a crowd that had swelled to 1,000 people on Tuesday night, according to witnesses.
Ohio U. Students Hit 'Racist' Halloween Costumes A group of students from Ohio University has drawn national attention for a poster campaign denouncing what they see as racist Halloween costumes. (ABC News)
High court turns away Conn. student’s free-speech appeal The Supreme Court is refusing to disturb a federal appeals court’s ruling that Connecticut school officials acted reasonably in disciplining a student for an Internet posting she wrote outside of school. (AP)
Springfield superintendent reverses decision to ban Halloween costumes in town's elementary schools
School Superintendent Michael Davino has a treat for students at Springfield's two elementary schools: They will be allowed to wear Halloween costumes on Monday, according to a memo posted on the district's website this morning.
(New Jersey Star-Ledger)
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