In a First Amendment victory, the United States Supreme Court will allow South Florida activist Fane Lozman to pursue his claim against the City of Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County. Lozman says that the city retaliated against him when he was arrested on November 15, 2006 for speaking about corruption in the county during a public comment session at a city council meeting. A lower court had previously ruled that Lozman could not bring a lawsuit for retaliation because a jury found that the police officer had probable cause to arrest him for disturbing a lawful assembly.
The Supreme Court disagreed.
The Miami Herald reported Lozman’s reaction after the decision:
“It’s just been an amazing effort to try to crack the overbreadth of government power towards citizens who want to exercise their First Amendment rights. This arrest happened in 2006 and the case was filed in February 2008, so we’ve been fighting this case for over 10 years. It’s been a Herculean effort.”
Justice Kennedy wrote the 8-1 decision, Justice Thomas dissented.
This was Lozman’s second time in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. He previously won a case in 2013 when the justices ruled that a floating home he had docked at a city-owned marina was a house, not a boat that would be subject to maritime government seizure.Associated Press> Miami Herald> USA Today> SCOTUS Decision> Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida> Arrest of Frank Lozman (Video)>