Civil Liberties

Keene, New Hampshire, Continues Legal Fight Against Free Staters Paying Meters, Speaking to Their Meter Enforcement Agents


The city of Keene, New Hampshire, continues to spend its citizens money trying to prevent local Free State Project activists from daring to pay expired meters and talk to meter enforcement officers, as reported in the New Hampshire Union-Leader:

The city's appeal of the dismissed lawsuit against 'Robin Hooders' is set to come before the state Supreme Court this month…In the city appeal, [city hired attorney Charles P.] Bauer argues that the Cheshire County Superior Court erred in finding the Robin Hooders' actions are protected under free speech.

"The defendants do not have a First Amendment right to create hostile conditions that are intended to force municipal employees to choose between suffering daily and ongoing harassment or quitting their jobs," Bauer states in the appeal filed with the Supreme Court in June.

The city filed a lawsuit in May 2013 against six citizens who are part of a group who have dubbed themselves Robin Hood of Keene….All but one in the group admitted to patrolling downtown armed with video cameras and pockets full of change to fill expired parking meters before a city parking enforcement officer can issue a ticket….

Then the city filed a second suit in September 2013 seeking monetary damages from the citizens. But:

In December, both civil lawsuits by the city against the group were dismissed by Cheshire County Superior Court judge John Kissinger.

In his Dec. 3 decisions, Kissinger granted the group's motions to dismiss based on their argument that it was within their constitutional right to free speech. 

I blogged in May about the state's earlier failed efforts to punish Keene's anti-meter maid activism in court.