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posted by janrinok on Friday July 10 2015, @10:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the land-of-the-almost-free dept.

Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) correspondent Michale Hoffman has been found guilty of trespassing on public property. He was arrested in August 2014 for holding up signs saying "Police State," "Liars Investigating Liars," "F??K THE TSA" and "IRS = Terrorist" on a public road leading to the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). Hoffman was barred from invoking a First Amendment defense at his trial. "While we are disappointed in the jury's verdict we look forward to appealing the judge's rulings on the First Amendment issues that the jury was not allowed to hear or consider," said attorney Eric Friday. Furthermore:

Duval County Judge Brent Shore also refused to answer the jury's question about whether or not holding up signs on public property is illegal. It's not, of course, but prosecutors convinced the jury that all the cops had to do was order him to leave, even if he was not breaking any law, to give them the right to arrest him for trespassing. "The state convinced the jury that I didn't have to break any law to be trespassed," Hoffman said.

Judge Brent Shore created arbitrary "credentialed media" rules that prevented PINAC from filming the court case, but allowed photographers from The Florida Times-Union and News4Jax to cover the trial at the last moment.

In an order issued after Michale Hoffman recorded himself hurling insults at journalists and cops [length: 5:36] on the court steps, Chief Fourth Circuit Judge Mark Mahon threatened to arrest anyone who recorded the Duval County Courthouse, even from across the street, for contempt of court. Additionally, Judge Mahon's order banned calling into question the integrity of the court or its judges, or calling them "corrupt." In response, another PINAC correspondent demonstrated what would happen if you tried to film the courthouse [length: 4:18] (the same user also engaged in the same conduct as Hoffman [length: 10:22] in front of JAX, and was not arrested). PINAC also filed a lawsuit in federal court against Mahon on Tuesday.

Eugene Volokh of the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy legal blog called Mahon's order unconstitutional. The order is also discussed at the Popehat legal blog. From the order:

[T]he proper procedure for challenging a court's decision is to file an appeal with the appropriate appellate court. Shouting out on the Courthouse grounds that the Court and judges are "corrupt" during business hours while people are entering the Courthouse is entirely inappropriate and disruptive and is analogous to falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater...

3. Demonstrations or dissemination of materials that degrade or call into question the integrity of the Court or any of its judges (e.g., claiming the Courts, Court personnel or judges are "corrupt," biased, dishonest, partial, or prejudiced), thereby tending to influence individuals appearing before the Courts, including jurors, witnesses, and litigants, shall be prohibited on the Duval County Courthouse grounds....


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11 2015, @12:23AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11 2015, @12:23AM (#207712)

    Yeah, those two or three police cases ("scandal after scandal") you obsess over out of the millions of police-public interactions per year. I don't think you understand what "endemic" means.

    Tl;dr. Yes, I'm sorry the rest of us aren't as obviously smart and insightful as you. I pity you that has to live every day so obviously smarter than everyone else. The sky really is falling, I know. I'm impressed you didn't work in "circuses" and "bread" because a few douches have recently been adding that because I guess they think it makes them sound smart. Try some Plutarch quotes too, like every fucking intellectual hipster has every decade for hundreds of years. It is amazing how the conditions in THIS COUNTRY (user to fill in their own country name) are EXACTLY like it was for the Romans before they fell, and we've been like that for a thousand years. Must be a very long fall.