Sunday, February 25, 2007
6th Circuit Ruling on Detention of Anti-Choice Activists
From Friday's Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report:
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled against law enforcement authorities from Springboro, Ohio, and the FBI for detaining abortion-rights opponents for three hours after they protested in the city, the AP/Zanesville Times Recorder reports. The panel reversed an earlier ruling by a U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio, and sent the case back to the lower court for continued arguments. Members of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform allege that on June 10, 2002, officers violated their constitutional rights to free speech by detaining them for a prolonged period of time after the protesters drove trucks displaying photos of aborted fetuses through Springboro. The 6th Circuit Court panel's ruling said that a reasonable jury could find that the officers were motivated to detain the protesters partially because the posters' content and concern by at least one officer that the photographs should be kept out of the sight of children. The ruling also said the officers stopped the protesters because they were wearing body armor and Kevlar helmets, which caused concern that they might be involved in criminal activity. The initial investigation found no evidence to justify why the protesters were held for three hours, and a reasonable officer would have known that detaining the group because of their protests would violate their right to free speech, according to the ruling.
Read 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Panel Rules Against Authorities for Prolonged Detention of Abortion-Rights Opponents (which includes a link to the 6th Circuit's opinion).