Sunday, September 30, 2018

City pays Libertarians $37K for petition shutdown

Jon Lender: Legal Mess Endures Months After Meriden Mayor Had Cops Oust Libertarians From Park - Hartford Courant:

September 7, 2018 - "Minor political parties’ candidates must jump through hoops to get on the election ballot in Connecticut. State law requires them to submit petitions containing thousands of voters’ signatures.... [G]aining ballot access is hard enough without a public official deciding to send the police to chase away party volunteers who are peacefully collecting such petition signatures in a public park.

"But that’s what happened on the sunny Saturday morning of April 28 to Rod Hanscomb, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor, and a few companions who were helping him collect ballot petition signatures from passers-by at the entrance to the annual Daffodil Festival in Meriden’s Hubbard Park. Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati walked past them and, not long afterward, a police lieutenant approached and told the Libertarians that they had to leave....

"The incident continues to fester today in a Superior Court lawsuit filed three months ago by the Libertarian Party’s state chairman, Dan Reale. He’s named Scarpati as the defendant and is claiming violations of his constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.... Reale said that partly because of being thrown out of Hubbard Park, the Libertarians ended up having to spend tens of thousands of dollars — as much as $50,000 — to supplement their volunteer efforts by paying people to collect signatures, and to hire a fundraising consultant.

"He said that now the state Libertarian Party organization has intervened legally to enter the lawsuit as a second plaintiff, and, during so-far-unsuccessful discussions of a possible settlement, has requested $50,000 in compensation."
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Jon Lender: 'Go After The First Amendment, You'll Pay The Price' — $37K To Settle Lawsuit Against Meriden Mayor - Hartford Courant:

September 28, 2018 - "The city of Meriden has paid $37,000 to settle a First Amendment lawsuit against Mayor Kevin Scarpati over his April 28 order that police oust members of the Libertarian Party, including its state chairman and gubernatorial candidate, from Hubbard Park, where they were circulating ballot petitions.

"'The First Amendment actually matters. We have confirmed that this isn’t Soviet Russia,' Dan Reale, the Libertarian Party state chairman, said Thursday after he and the party’s lawyer filed papers to withdraw the Superior Court action that had been filed in June. 'So, you go after the First Amendment, you'll pay the price'....

"Reale said that a Sept. 7 Government Watch column, which gave statewide exposure to the politically embarrassing situation for Meriden, seemed to increase the city’s willingness to settle the case."
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1 comment:

  1. Shameful. Everone - Libertarian or not - should be outraged.