10 January 2007

Christopher King sues Nashua School Board over content-based First Amendment Restrictions.

Time out: There is a 2:00p.m. policy meeting tomorrow, 12 Jan 2007. On information and belief, the offending speech policy 1130(10) prohibiting comment on administrative and personnel issues will be deleted; I have informed Board members that 1130(9) must be jettisoned as well, prohibiting personal attacks because that falls under a Defamation standard; the Board is and should be free to cut comments about personal lives that have no bearing or reflection on the employee's performance or character in office. As I told 1590 Talk Radio host Jennifer Horn on air the other day, the way 1130(9) is written, one could run afoul of it by saying "Dr. Earl's performance is loathsome," for example.

A lawsuit with a peace sign? Well in a word, yes. I told the board that I have no animosity toward any of them, except perhaps Julia Earl who will be a named Defendant for initiating the restriction. The reasons I have decided to sue are several, including the fact that City Attorney Stephen Bennett and the Nashua Telegraph editorial board both agree.

1. New Hampshire is the Live Free or Die State, and we need to send a message to the World -- as the first state to vote in the Presidential Primaries no less -- that the government cannot censure censor (Freudian slip?) speech in such a manner. We need a bright line legal standard, and there is no other way to get one than to have a court issue it. Any damages, if awarded, will be split 5 ways: The Board can decide two charities to receive a total of 40%; I will pick two of mine for another 40% and I will keep 20% for my efforts, which frankly have been quite exhaustive. The law should always embrace creative solutions to problems like this, and my experience is tailor-made for this endeavor.

2. Read para. 13 of the lawsuit draft, which was inadvertently sent to the Board yesterday -- which is okay because we all know the issues anyway:
13. As noted in the 9 January 2007 email accepting the $500.00 pledge from Alderman Fred Teeboom, this issue requires that an immediate, bright-line standard be established not only to resolve this particular case, but to set the tone for the rest of New Hampshire in the face of developing case law since the Vagalebre decision, and to prove once and for all, that New Hampshire actually is the “Live Free or Die State” when it comes to the ability of its citizens to seek redress regarding the actions of public figures and officials.

As I wrote the Board yesterday, there is no coincidence that I represented Columbus School Board protester Jerry L. Doyle in general (1999 Columbus Alive feature story), and also initiated this case he won in the specific. Just in time for Martin Luther King Day, watch police crime victim Michael Isreal -- whom I also represented -- sing negro sprirituals at Jerry's acquittal in KingCast short film, "American Lawyer I."

Last but not least, read the cases here, here, here, here.


Christopher King said...

And if they change the policy I've lost the basis for Injunctive Relief and the case becames a regular calendar (mis)adventure, wasting time and taxpayer monies.

It would of course be an interesting exercise to see exactly what Dr. Earl's role was in all of this mess, but that's not my battle.

My battle -- the protection of the First Amendment -- appears to be resolved.


Christopher King said...

And as to the deterrent effect that I seek, this case already has drawn substantial attention and will no doubt be posted with the Freedom Forum, First Amendment Center and ACLU, so it is highly unlikely we will see another district promelgate such rules.

But if one does, KingCast or Justiceforkids will be there.