Re: COPS/FEDS HARASS CONFERENCE: contest in court as arbitrary?

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 16:37:27 -0800 (PST)


Please forward my advice below to the conference planners:

You may be able to contest federal harrassment of the conference in court,
if you choose.  I'd think the Florida chapter of ACLU could advise you.

FAU may have had a legal right to say no.  But my layperson's guess is that
it may have been illegal for the feds to pressure FAU to cancel space
already promised for your conference.

A judge granted a _temporary injunction_ last February against a roadblock
& vehicle searches of the Rainbow Family Gathering in Ocala National
Forest, near Orlando, FL.  The core argument (as I understand it) was that
singling out Rainbows for drug searches was arbitrary ("selectively
trageted"), since there was prior no evidence to justify the roadblock.

One person you could contact is ARJAY S. SUTTON at "Pronoid Central"
<pronoid@gator.net>. He helped with the petetion for an injunction and
posted the text of the judge's _final ruling_ below to
alt.gathering.rainbow Newsgroup.

-- Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlinbk.net>

>From: reporter@mailhost.magicnet.net
>Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:32:06 -0500
>To: fnb-l@tao.ca
>Subject: COPS/FEDS HARASS CONFERENCE
>
>Posted by Ben Markeson, Orlando, FL
>
>The Total Liberation Conference, scheduled for Feb. 12-15, in Boca Raton,
>Fl, on the campus of Florida Atlantic University

FWD
 
Final Florida Ruling in Instant Case 
Author:Pronoid Central <pronoid@gator.net>
Date: 1998/03/02
Forum: alt.gathering.rainbow


                        UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                        MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
                        JACKSONVILLE DIVISION

SCOTT C. ADDISON, ARJAY S. SUTTON, pro se,
and DOUGLAS O'BRIEN,

                                                Plaintiffs,


v.
Case No. 98-137-Civ-J-20C

UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE,
SHERIFF OF MARION COUNTY, FL, and
SHERIFF OF LAKE COUNTY, FL,

                                                Defendants.

_________________________________________________________________

                                                        ORDER

        This matter came before the Court for a hearing on Plaintiff's
Motion for
Preliminary Injunction (Doc. No. 2, filed February 13, 1998) and Defendants
Ken Ergle (Sheriff of Marion County, Florida) and George E. Knupp, Jr.'s
(Sheriff of Lake County, Florida) Emergency Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, for Continuance (Doc. No. 5, filed February 19, 1998) on Friday,
February 20, 1998, at 3:00pm.

I. Motion to Dismiss/Continue

        Defendants Ergle and Knupp have represented to the Court that they
required
a continuance to adequately prepare a response to Plaintiff's Motion for
Preliminary Injunction. Ergle and Knupp have further represented that they
will not participate in the complained-of conduct until the prayed-for
continued
hearing takes place. Plaintiffs do not object to a continuance under these
circumstances.
Accordingly, the Motion for Continuance (Doc. No. 5, part 2) is GRANTED,
and the Motion for Preliminary Injunction as to Defendants Ergle and Knupp
will take place on February 25, 1998 at 3:00pm before the undersigned.
The Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 5, part 1) is MOOT in light of Plaintiffs'
Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 6, filed February 20, 1998).

II. Motion for Preliminary Injunction

        The Court may grant a preliminary injunction where the movant
demonstrates:
(1) a substantial liklihood of success by the movant on the merits; (2) that
the movant
will suffer irreparable harm unless the injunction issues; (3) that the
threatened
injury to the movant outweighs any threatened harm the injunction may cause
the opposing party; and (4) that the injunction, if issued, "will not
disserve the
public interest." Bryan v. Hall Chemical Co., 993 F.2d 831, 835 (11th cir.
1993).

        In this case, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have conducted, and
plan to
continue conducting, roadblocks and vehicle searches in or near the Ocala
National
Forest ("ONF"). Plaintiffs further allege that these roadblocks unlawfully
prevent
or deter Plaintiffs' access to the ONF, where they occassionally meet with
fellow
members of a loosely organized group sometimes called the "Rainbow Family."
Plaintiffs contend that Defendants have specifically, and unlawfully, aimed
these
roadblocks and searches at Plaintiffs and others similarly situated.

        Defendant United States Forest service argues that the roadblocks
and searches
are lawful, and are necessary to: (1) enforce Forest Service rules and
regulations
promulgated to protect the national forest and ensure public safety; (2)
ensure
that drivers and vehicles are properly licensed, and that drivers are not
under the
influence of alcohol or drugs; and (3) ensure that vehicles are parked in
designated
parking areas, so that forest roads are kept clear to readily provide emergency
ingress and egress. The Forest Service also contends that it has not
selectively
targeted Palintiffs or and other group.

        During the hearing, Plaintiffs adduced evidence, inter alia, that
Defendant
Forest Service has checked the identities of vehicle *passengers* traveling to
Rainbow Family gatherings, and that at least one plaintiff was stopped upon
entering *and exiting* the ONF. The Court fails to see how these actions could
possibly serve the public interest. Moreover, this evidence strongly suggests
that Defendant Forest Service has selectively targeted its enforcement efforts
against Plaintiffs, and that its actions may not, at least in some
instances, be in
accordance with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

        Consequently, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a
substantial
likelihood of success on the merits. Furthermore, if Defendant Forest
Service is
allowed to continue conducting roadblocks in the manner in which it has
previously
done so, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm by being prevented or deterred
from entering and enjoying the Ocala National Forest. Finally, since compelling
Defendant Forest Service to comply with existing federal law can only inure to
the public's benefit, and will in no way impose harm upon Defendant Forest
Service, it is hereby

        ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:

        (1)     Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminay Injunction (Doc. No. 2) is
GRANTED.

        (2)     Defendant United States Forest Service is hereby ENJOINED from
establishing or participating in roadblock "safety checks" in the Ocala
National Forest,
except to ensure that the possession or operation of motorized vehicles on a
Forest
Service road is not in violation of the laws of the United States or the
State of Florida,
and is in conformance with current United States Department of Agriculture
regulations
and policies. Defendant United States Forest Service is FURTHER ENJOINED from
making any motor vehicle stops and/or searches for criminal purposes without
individualized exigent circumstances or other proper and articulable
individualized
suspicion or probable cause, as the United States Constitution so requires.

        DONE AND ORDERED at Jacksonville, Florida this 24th day of February,
1998, nunc pro tunc to February 20, 1998, at 6:15 p.m.



           Harvey E. Schlessinger

            United States District Judge

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