The Nationalist Movement (Crosstar) sues for free speech

Rasp

Senior Editor
The Nationalist Movement (Crosstar) sues for free speech

White supremacist group asks court to toss York permit ordinance

PHILADELPHIA - A white supremacist group asked a panel of federal judges Tuesday to throw out the city of York's public-assembly ordinance, saying it violates the right to free-speech by putting an unfair burden on some groups.

Five members of the Nationalist Movement held a rally in the city on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2003. Although it eventually was exempted from the fee, the group sued over the requirement that groups pay for liability insurance, police protection and permit fees.

"You cannot charge for free speech. It's free," Richard Barrett, an attorney for the Mississippi-based group told the three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "Don't make them pay for their podium or make them bear their own cross."

The Nationalist Movement said the rally was meant to honor Henry Schaad, a white police officer slain during the city's race riots in 1969, and protest Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Days before the rally, a federal judge ordered that it should proceed after the group and the city came to an agreement on police protection and electricity.

But the group continued to press forward with its lawsuit, filed in October 2002.

That prompted skeptical questions from the judges Tuesday, several of whom asked whether the case should be moot because the group was not charged a fee and has not been denied.

"You never had to get a permit and you had your event for $1," Judge Maryanne Trump Barry told Barrett, waving her hands at one point.

She also chided him for making hypothetical arguments.

"There's nothing that could prevent me from being the Queen of England, if my father had been king," Barry said. "Don't speculate on things that could happen."

The judges pressed James D. Young, an attorney representing the city, over parts of the ordinance they thought were confusing, including whether an application fee could be waived for those who could not afford it. Young said it could.

The judges, who did not indicate when they would rule, also said there was confusion over what exactly it meant for a group to assume liability for a demonstration.

"The city has to prepare for the speeches that are going to occur," Barry said.

Young responded that his interpretation was a basic rule he learned as a child: Leave a place just as it was when you got there.

White supremacist groups started targeting York after police arrested nine white men, including then-Mayor Charlie Robertson, in 2001 for the shooting of a black woman during race riots in 1969. Lillie Belle Allen, 27, of Aiken, S.C., was killed days after Schaad was shot to death.

Jurors eventually convicted Robert Messersmith and Gregory Neff of second-degree murder in Allen's slaying. Robertson, a city police officer at the time, was acquitted of charges that he incited a group of whites to violence against blacks.

Seven other white men pleaded guilty or no contest to lesser charges in Allen's slaying. Two black men were convicted in Schaad's murder.
 

Rasp

Senior Editor
City to pay bill for supremacists

City to pay bill for supremacists
A federal judge ordered York to pay $48K to the Nationalist Movement

Jul 3, 2007 — The white supremacist Nationalist Movement, having won smaller skirmishes in appellate court against the City of York, was awarded another victory and almost $50,000 in attorneys' fees and court costs by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Mississippi-based group, - which began its forays into York after the arrests of several white men, including then-Mayor Charlie Robertson, in 2001 for the 1969 murder of a black woman - had repeatedly challenged the city's public assembly ordinance.

The dispute between the city and the protesters stemmed from a planned January 2003 rally purportedly in honor of York City Police Officer Henry C. Schaad, who also was murdered in 1969, in conjunction with a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday protest on the steps of city hall.

The event was held, with the city waiving the permit requirement or paying more than a nominal $1 fee because the protest included fewer than 25 participants.

But the Nationalist Movement pushed forward with its civil case, and last year in U.S.

Middle District Court, attorney Richard Barrett successfully argued that two city provisions requiring insurance coverage and a security deposit to cover the cost of police protection and city services were unconstitutional.

Barrett then appealed Judge Yvette Kane's decision, which upheld a requirement to pay up to $100 for a permit fee and a reimbursement provision, which allows the city to try to recover damages resulting from an event.

In a 14-page opinion issued March 21, Third Circuit Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry ruled the permit fee is constitutional because it is non-discretionary and "is applied across the board to all prospective users."

Barry also held that "the reimbursement provision is the flip side of the same count as the unconstitutional security deposit and insurance requirements." The judge found the provision unconstitutional because it could hold a speaker liable for police costs and damages resulting from the actions of any counter-protesters.

Barry's order directing the city to pay $47,918 in attorney fees and $729 in costs was issued June 20. The judge rejected Barrett's request for "double enhancement" of the damages.

Mayor John Brenner said Monday he is meeting with his solicitor to discuss the damages award.

"I will review it and then I will have something to say about it," Brenner said.

Barrett could not be reached for comment.

THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT VS. YORK CITY

April 16, 2002: York City Council adopts a public assembly ordinance.

June 14, 2002: The Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group, submits an application for an event to be held in York on Jan. 20, 2003. In the application, group founder and attorney Richard Barrett argues against the constitutionality of the city's public assembly ordinance. The city rejects the application for being incomplete.

Oct. 25, 2003: Barrett files a civil suit in U.S. Middle District Court challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance.

Jan. 6-7, 2003: Barrett seeks an expedited federal hearing on his arguments. The city seeks dismissal of the request.

Jan. 10, 2003: The city drops its request and waives its public assembly requirements for Barrett.

Jan. 20, 2003: Outnumbered by anti-racist protesters who were outnumbered by police, the Nationalist Movement rally is held with no serious incidents.

Jan. 30, 2003: The city announces overtime costs for police and public employees for the rally exceeds $12,000.

March 24, 2006: U.S. Middle District Court Judge Yvette Kane rules the city's public assembly provisions - requiring insurance coverage and a security deposit to cover the police, public works and potential damages - are unconstitutional and unenforceable.

April 7, 2006: Barrett appeals Kane's decision, which upholds the city's permit fee and reimbursement provision to recover any damages, to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

March 21, 2007: Judge Maryanne Trump Barry finds the permit fee constitutional and the reimbursement provision unconstitutional.

June 20, 2007: Barry orders the city to pay the Nationalist Movement $47,918 in attorney fees and $729 in costs.
 

Rasp

Senior Editor
Judges order York to pay white supremacists

Judges order York to pay white supremacists

Judges in a pair of federal courts have ordered York City to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a white supremacist group that took the city to court over its public assembly ordinance.

The Nationalist Movement has been successful in getting part of the ordinance overturned by judges who ruled it violated the First Amendment. But the organization has not been as successful in getting the city to pay it almost $50,000 in attorney fees and court costs awarded in June by Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

20071003_092041_BARRETT_VIEWER.jpg


Richard Barrett

After a petition by the Nationalist's attorney, Richard Barrett, Judge Barry issued an order that gives the city until Oct. 12 to pay the Nationalist Movement. A separate order, issued by U.S. Middle District Court Judge Yvette Kane on Friday, ordered the city to pay more than $40,000 in fees and costs.

Barrett said that in the years the Nationalist Movement has spent fighting
over a dozen cities in court in similar cases, he has never seen a city delay so long in paying what the court

requires.
"York has probably been the longest delayed and the most obstreperous that I've seen," Barrett said.

Waiting for answers: Assistant city solicitor Don Hoyt said the city has not paid the fees because it is still waiting for direction from attorney James D. Young, who has been representing the city at the request of the city's insurance carrier.

The city's questions about how to deal with the two court orders have not been answered by Young's law firm, Lavery, Faherty, Young & Patterson in Harrisburg, Hoyt said.

"We've asked them what's going on, and we haven't heard anything," Hoyt said.

The Nationalist Movement challenged the city's request for an application and fees when it was planning a rally in 2002. The city eventually allowed the group to hold the rally for $1, but the Nationalists pursued a court case.

Judges struck down parts of the ordinance that required groups to provide a security deposit and proof of insurance and agree to pay for police coverage and other services.

The Nationalist Movement has appealed to the Supreme Court as well, hoping the higher court will strike down the $50 or $100 application fee required under the ordinance as well. The court will decide later this week whether to accept the case.

Barrett said he hopes the group's ideas gain legitimacy through its success in the courts.

"When we came to York, we were called losers, morons, mental midgets, lemons and a few other assorted things," Barrett said. "I don't think they'll be calling us that anymore."
 

Rasp

Senior Editor
Judges order York to pay white supremacists

Judges order York to pay white supremacists

Judges in a pair of federal courts have ordered York City to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a white supremacist group that took the city to court over its public assembly ordinance.

The Nationalist Movement has been successful in getting part of the ordinance overturned by judges who ruled it violated the First Amendment. But the organization has not been as successful in getting the city to pay it almost $50,000 in attorney fees and court costs awarded in June by Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

20071003_092041_BARRETT_VIEWER.jpg


Richard Barrett

After a petition by the Nationalist's attorney, Richard Barrett, Judge Barry issued an order that gives the city until Oct. 12 to pay the Nationalist Movement. A separate order, issued by U.S. Middle District Court Judge Yvette Kane on Friday, ordered the city to pay more than $40,000 in fees and costs.

Barrett said that in the years the Nationalist Movement has spent fighting
over a dozen cities in court in similar cases, he has never seen a city delay so long in paying what the court requires.

"York has probably been the longest delayed and the most obstreperous that I've seen," Barrett said.

Waiting for answers: Assistant city solicitor Don Hoyt said the city has not paid the fees because it is still waiting for direction from attorney James D. Young, who has been representing the city at the request of the city's insurance carrier.

The city's questions about how to deal with the two court orders have not been answered by Young's law firm, Lavery, Faherty, Young & Patterson in Harrisburg, Hoyt said.

"We've asked them what's going on, and we haven't heard anything," Hoyt said.

The Nationalist Movement challenged the city's request for an application and fees when it was planning a rally in 2002. The city eventually allowed the group to hold the rally for $1, but the Nationalists pursued a court case.

Judges struck down parts of the ordinance that required groups to provide a security deposit and proof of insurance and agree to pay for police coverage and other services.

The Nationalist Movement has appealed to the Supreme Court as well, hoping the higher court will strike down the $50 or $100 application fee required under the ordinance as well. The court will decide later this week whether to accept the case.

Barrett said he hopes the group's ideas gain legitimacy through its success in the courts.

"When we came to York, we were called losers, morons, mental midgets, lemons and a few other assorted things," Barrett said. "I don't think they'll be calling us that anymore."
 
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