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April 3, 2012
Examining Fans’ Rights to Jeer at Games Is a fan’s protest — known in some sports law circles as fan speech or cheering speech — a form of expression protected by the First Amendment? In other words, do fans have the right to bellow at referees all game long, as long as they do not run on the court or menace the officials? (NYT)
Boston settled police videotaping lawsuit The city of Boston has paid $170,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who said his civil rights were violated when he was arrested for recording police with his cellphone.(AP)
6th Circuit rejects ‘Joe the Plumber’ lawsuit A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by “Joe the Plumber” that claimed his rights were violated by a state records search after he voiced public concern over taxes to then-candidate Barack Obama.(AP)
Supreme Court upholds limits on religious messages The U.S. Supreme Court left intact Monday two rulings by the federal appeals court in San Francisco that limit the ability of teachers and charter schools to spread religious messages in the classroom. (SC)
City Revokes Testing Word Ban New York City Department of Education officials said late Monday that they were pulling back on a clause in contracts for testing companies that list 50 words and topics that they should avoid in creating new tests.(NYT)
Federal judge refuses to toss lawsuit by WikiLeaks ally
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an outspoken advocate for an Army private accused of funneling classified documents to WikiLeaks.(AP)
Va. city defends limits on Confederate flags The city of Lexington is defending its decision to keep the Confederate battle flag off of municipal light poles, arguing that allowing that banner to fly on city-owned property could open the door to all sorts of offensive messages.(AP)
Putting In Their 2 Cents
The event in Brooklyn was part of something called participatory budgeting, in which constituents in four City Council districts were given control over a small slice of their council members’ discretionary budgets — $1 million in each district. In a process that began in October, they proposed projects, researched their viability and ran them by city agencies.(NYT)
Supporters of George Zimmerman fearful of speaking out Trayvon Martin’s supporters pack churches, swarm rallies and wear hooded sweat shirts in solidarity while friends and family of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teen to death, remain largely out of sight. The few who have defended Zimmerman have done so reluctantly, most fearing public backlash. (AP)
Congressman wears hoodie on House floor to honor Trayvon Martin As concerns over the Trayvon Martin case mount, a congressman donned a gray hoodie Wednesday morning to deliver a speech on the House floor pressing for justice for the slain Florida teen and his family. (CT)
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera apologizes for comments about hoodie in Trayvon Martin shooting case
Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera said Tuesday that he’s sorry for suggesting that a hoodie worn by unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was as much responsible for his death as the neighborhood watch captain who shot him.
Op-ed: In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, the hoodie takes on a greater meaning
I don’t consider getting shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer an everyday possibility, but the air of suspicion is. I am a gangly black man who sings and smiles while walking down the street. I typically intimidate no one. In a hoodie, I am mistaken for a thug.(WP)
Elderly couple abandons their home after address is posted on Twitter as that of George Zimmerman
A school-cafeteria lunch lady and her husband have received hate mail, unwanted visits from reporters and fearful inquiries from neighbors — all because their Sanford-area address is being disseminated on Twitter as belonging to Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, her son said late Tuesday.
Professor at Florida's FAMU suspended over hazing A music professor at Florida A&M University, the school rocked by the hazing death of a marching band member last fall, has been suspended over allegations he joined in the ritualistic beating of fraternity pledges at his home, authorities said on Thursday.(Reuters)
911 caller arrested in deadly police shooting
As the nation focuses on the fatal shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watchman, the police shooting in Pasadena raises more questions about the role and responsibility of those who report or witness crimes.(AP)
Jeremy Lin lunches with ex-ESPN headline writer Knicks star Jeremy Lin had lunch with the former ESPN employee who was fired last month for writing a headline about Lin that included a racially insensitive word.(Newsday)
'Bully' will run in Regal, Carmike Cinemas with restrictions The MPAA gave "Bully" an R rating due to language, refusing to budge despite heavy lobbying by Weinstein co-chair Harvey Weinstein that it be lowered to PG-13 on grounds that the lower rating would enable more teens to see the movie. An online petition to get the rating lowered also drew nearly half a million signatures. (Reuters)
Judge in NY tells hearing on lawsuit that 1st Amendment is not at heart of anti-terror law A federal judge said Thursday that she’s “extremely skeptical” a lawsuit can succeed in striking down a law giving the government wide powers to regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.(AP)
ACLU to Va State Police: Halt social media reviews The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday urged the Virginia State Police to stop demanding a look at job applicants' Facebook and Twitter accounts, calling the practice an invasion of privacy akin to eavesdropping on a phone call or opening someone's mail.(AP)
Mich. militia members cleared of charges that accused them of plotting war against government
A federal judge on Tuesday gutted the government’s case against seven members of a Michigan militia, dismissing the most serious charges in an extraordinary defeat for federal authorities who insisted they had captured homegrown rural extremists poised for war.
Pinterest Bans Pro-Anorexia Content to Little Effect
Just one month after Tumblr banned content that “actively promotes or glorifies self-injury or self-harm,” Pinterest has updated its terms of service to prevent users from pinning content of a similar nature. This is the second update Pinterest has made to its terms of service in the past week.
Fabrice Muamba: Racist Twitter user jailed for 56 days A student who admitted posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about footballer Fabrice Muamba has been jailed for 56 days. (BBC)
Feminist writer Naomi Wolf calls for boycott of Katy Perry video because it's 'propaganda for the Marines' Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, says the images of the singer dressed as a soldier 'glorify violence' and has called for a boycott of her music. (Daily Mail)
Ore. officials fight to charge groups for records Officials at the port in Coos Bay say they will go to court to overturn the district attorney’s decision that environmental groups cannot be charged thousands of dollars to fulfill public-records requests.(AP)
Juror dismissed from Carrier trial for Facebook misstep A judge on Wednesday dismissed a juror who reportedly complained on Facebook about the “boring” pace in the case against former Colorado Springs police Officer Joshua Carrier, violating court rules against discussing the trial. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
Guilty after proven innocent? Georgia pols fight law opening criminal records even without crime GJP Executive Director Doug Ammar said many others still face this problem, because Georgia gives district attorneys discretion over whether to allow the restriction of arrest records, even if there's no conviction. (Fox News)
Op-ed: The Right to Sell Kids Junk It’s easy to get lost in the Constitution and forget that we’re talking about children being bombarded by propaganda so clever and sophisticated that it amounts to brainwashing, for products that can and do make them sick.(NYT)Press
Sanford retracts threat to arrest reporters for contacting workers The threat came in a press release a public relations firm hired by the city sent Wednesday, stating workers had been followed and approached at their homes by reporters working on the Martin story. The press release said police won't hesitate to arrest members of the news media. (WKMG)
Iran suspends accreditation for Reuters in Tehran The Iranian government has suspended the press accreditation for Reuters staff in Tehran after the publication of a video story on women's martial arts training which contained an error.(Reuters)
You Be The Judge: Are Bloggers Journalists? In case involving self-described ‘investigative blogger’ Crystal Cox, Judge Hernandez ruled that in order to qualify for basic First Amendment protections like state shield laws, freelance journalists have to meet a rather stiff set of criteria.(Forbes)Religion
Mother faces contempt of court, maybe jail for baptizing children Last week the Tennessee Court of Appeals said Lauren Jarrell must face a criminal-contempt hearing for violating a court order that said major decisions regarding the religious upbringing of her two children should be made jointly with the children’s father.(AP)
Concert at Army post in N.C. geared toward atheists The Rock Beyond Belief event at Fort Bragg, organized by soldiers here two years after an evangelical Christian event at the eastern North Carolina post, is the most visible sign so far of a growing desire by military personnel with atheist or other secular beliefs to get the same recognition as their religious counterparts.(AP)
Attorney: Churches can't hide behind First Amendment in assault cases
Religious organizations cannot use their policies or cite the First Amendment to defend themselves from accusations of assault and inappropriate sexual relationships, an attorney for a Colorado woman wrote in federal court documents this week.
NATO protest interest hasn't waned, police say The removal of the G-8 summit from Chicago has done nothing to curb interest from protesters intending to demonstrate during the summit weekend in May that now includes only NATO meetings, a top Chicago Police Department official said Tuesday. (CT)
Idaho Senate approves bill to close ‘Occupy’ loophole Senate Republicans agreed they should close the loophole that allowed Occupy Boise protesters to establish a camp on state property last November, even though a federal judge has forbidden the Legislature from ousting the protesters’ tents across from the Capitol.(AP)
Judge asked to bar free speech defense in Occupy trial Polk County prosecutors are trying stronger tactics in an Occupy Des Moines trespassing trial scheduled to begin Monday, arguing that jurors should be barred from considering “free speech rights.”(Des Moines Register)
Some CPS students want a voice in grading their teachers
A group of Chicago Public School students Tuesday demanded that student opinions about the effectiveness of their teachers be slowly folded into a new teacher evaluation process due to start this fall.
Brooklyn High School Fines Students $100 For Using Facebook, Threatens Expulsion If They Don't Stop Controversy ensued after the Beis Rivkah all-girl high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., pulled from class every 11th grade student who used Facebook and handed them a written ultimatum: delete their accounts from the social networking site and pay $100 to the school, or be expelled, community website CrownHeights.info reports. (HP)
Indiana teenager expelled over profane Twitter post A northern Indiana high school senior has been expelled for allegedly tweeting an expletive on a school computer.(AP)
Alpharetta student loses court bid over prom dispute
A federal judge Friday ruled against an Alpharetta High School senior who claims he was ousted as student body president for pushing to make the school’s prom king and queen selection more inclusive to gay and lesbian students.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Report on campus pepper-spray incident can be released
The University of California can release a report on the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators by UC-Davis police but must first remove the names of most officers, a judge ruled yesterday.(AP)
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