Tag Archives: federal court

Aaron Tobey beats DHS, TSA over civil rights violations

Aaron Tobey of Virginia sued in federal court and won:

Aaron Tobey claimed in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in 2010 he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:

Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.

Hopefully more young adults will take the torch and push back. They are our best hope to defeat a tyrannical government. The lawmakers, regulators and enforcers should be very wary of what is coming from the agitated young adults if they do not back off their brown shirt jackboot tactics against common citizens.

Tobey is a true American patriot and hero. He stood up for his rights, made a statement to the pat down thugs while doing so and was arrested for exercising his Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

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Federal court rules flipping off cops constitutional

Huffington Post reports:

A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.

A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was “trying to get my attention for some reason.” The appeals court didn’t buy that explanation, ruling that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”

If you’re planning on displaying your denunciation digit with your local boys in blue, you’ll definitely want to download and print out the full ruling (PDF).

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Bydlak v. Gary Johnson, et al. case dismissed in federal court

Back in February GOP turn LP presidential candidate Gary Johnson and several top members of his campaign staff were named defendants in a hefty $105K legal suit filed in Alexandria, Virginia Federal Court by Jonathan M. Bydlak, their former fundraiser. On Tuesday April 24th, Judge Liam O’Grady dismissed the case citing a lack of jurisdiction over several of the defendants. In addition, O’Grady noted that no single defendant was being sued in excess of $75,000, the court’s threshold.

Bydlak v. Gary Johnson (4/24/2012) [scribd]

Hammer of Truth obtained the documents from Johnson campaign spokesman Joe Hunter, who puts it bluntly, “It pretty much speaks for itself, so no, we don’t have an additional comment.”

We sought a legal analyst (who did not want to be named in this interview) who was more forthcoming on the implications of the ruling, explaining “it was dismissed on a jurisdictional technicality (lack of jurisdiction over the both the defendant AND the matter).” He looked at Burnham & Gorokhov and concluded, “These guys seem a bit young. They don’t really appear to do civil law much … focusing on criminal and white collar law. Every lawyer has his ‘weak area'”.

“The mistake they made on totaling up the dispute for jurisdictional amount is not the stupidest thing ever done. But every lawyer knows that Federal Court is a different beast than state court and that you really have to get your form as well as your content right. If they’d merely consulted with either a book about civil procedure or a practice guide for Federal Court, the first things everybody knows is to work really hard in preparation so that you don’t get bounced out of court on a technicality.”

“The best hurdle to clear is beating ‘summary judgment’. These guys didn’t even get close to that far before they got dismissed.”

The summary judgement noted in the brief factored in two key areas where jurisdiction came into play: a $75,000 minimum for at least one defendant; OAI, GJ2012 and Gary Johnson (personally) were subject to the court’s jurisdiction, but the other defendants were not.

Our legal expert summed it up, “They sued in Federal Court without, apparently, understanding how that’s supposed to work.”

Bydlak may yet still pursue his legal gambit by resubmitting in the correct venue, as we’re pretty he’ll do if he’s still miffed about that $105K he claims he’s owed.

Request for comments from Bydlak or his legal representatives at Burnham & Gorokhov, PLLC were not returned.