The state has settled with two local animal rights activists who filed a federal suit claiming a Utah Highway Patrol trooper prevented them from handing out political leaflets during this year’s Utah Legislature.
In its settlement filed Monday, the state has agreed to pay Eric Waters and David Berg, both of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, $1,000 each and their attorney Brian Barnard $10,000 in legal fees. The state has also agreed to pay UARC $500.
Waters and Berg claimed their First Amendment rights were violated when UHP trooper Preston Raban approached them near the House of Representatives building and told them to stop handing out leaflets.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office acknowledged Waters and Berg “have the legal right to engage in the free expression activity of tendering political leaflets, fliers, buttons or similar materials on the grounds and in public areas of the Utah State Capitol and related buildings.”
No matter what I think of most (not all) people in the animal rights movement, any common sense view of the Constitution covers such activities.