Archive for the ‘gas masks’ Category

1999 Seattle legal ideas

December 10, 2006

David Utevsky, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in First Amendment issues, said it is likely the courts in the long run will not look kindly on any blanket attempts to restrict political protests.

“I think the question is, what is really necessary in order to achieve the necessary goals that the city has?” Utevsky said. “It would be reasonable to keep people some distance away from the entrances of (conference) buildings, or some distance away from the president’s motorcade when he travels. But it does seem to me this zone is much bigger than is necessary, and for that reason is probably unconstitutional.

When authorities are trying to keep a distance between demonstrators and those they are demonstrating against, they can’t be kept farther apart than necessary, Utevsky argued.

“They (court decisions) say there has to be an opportunity for protesters to deliver their message to the audience they want to reach,” he said.

“This violates court rules which require access to a lawyer for arrested persons be provided as early as possible,” Boruchowitz said. “It is important that in times of stress, the most fundamental principles of our justice system not be compromised or ignored. Among the most critical of these is access to a lawyer when a person has been arrested.”

Also, police were providing food to anyone detained more than four hours, as required by law, he said.

In other developments yesterday, one aspect of the city’s state of emergency — a police order banning gas masks or their sale in the downtown core — brought an immediate promise of a lawsuit.

“I’m very angry,” said Mark Miclette, president of GasMask.com, in Dexter, Maine. “I could understand if it was a violent weapon, but this is something people need to protect from the air they breathe.

“I just think this is a basic civil right. I view it as simple as getting a weather report saying it’s going to snow, and someone saying you can’t wear a coat.”

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/civl02.shtml

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