Citizen Cited For Displaying “Cops Ahead” Sign Has His Day In Court

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

From screen shot: KOMO News
From screen shot: KOMO News

Last June we reported a rather upsetting incident involving the Seattle Police Department Motor Traffic Unit. Citizen Daniel Gehlke saw motorcycle officers set up near the intersection of 14th Avenue South and South Washington and begin enforcing stop sign and speed laws. Mr. Gehlke then obtained a Rubbermaid container lid and wrote thereon the words “COPS AHEAD! Stop at sign and light!” He stood nearby the intersection displaying the lid to warn drivers of the traffic unit’s presence and recommend compliance with the law.

Unfortunately for Mr. Gehlke the traffic unit took exception to this and cited him under a Seattle Municipal Ordinance making the display of a sign “bearing any such words as ‘danger,’ ‘stop,’ ‘slow,’” and more… [with] Directions likely to be construed as giving warning to or regulating traffic.” In the view of your author this was a highly suspect and chippy charge, and is only a minimally veiled pretext to retaliate against the citizen holding up the sign and thereby thwarting the number of tickets to be issued.

The Motor Unit officer issued Mr. Gehlke a notice of infraction having a $138.00 penalty. He then altered the sign to remove some of the words and continued his speech.  Now, Gehlke had his day in court.
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Shooting the Messenger: Reporter Forced To Confess To Contributing To Fall of Chinese Market

400px-Chineseart_ExecutionpaintingThe Chinese regime followed its recent market meltdown in true Maoist fashion this week. It dragged out a journalist, Wang Xiaolu, to confess that he helped start the crash. It cannot be the centrally planned, artificially dumped up system itself. No, it was a journalist.

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Court In Egypt Sentences Al-Jazeera Reporters To Three Years Imprisonment

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of EgyptWe previously wrote HERE and HERE of the arrest, conviction, and sentencing several Al-Jazeera reporters for the dubious accusation of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood through their coverage of the “civil war” in Egypt.

Now in its latest retrial, the Court sentenced Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to three years imprisonment for operating without a press license and broadcasting material harmful to the state. An international outcry likely will follow.

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The Brown Family Files Briefs In Sisters Wives Case In Denver

ad611-sister-wives-season-4Today the briefs of the Brown family arrived at the Denver courthouse in the Sister Wives case now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. (The actual electronic filing was made the night before under the federal ECF system). I continue to serve as lead counsel to the Brown family in their successful challenge of the criminalization of polygamy in Utah. Last year, United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups issued the final decision striking down the cohabitation crime used against polygamist in Utah. The State has appealed to the federal court of appeals in Denver and below is our defense of that decision by Judge Waddoups. I want to thank my friend and local counsel (and GW Alum) Adam Alba and all of the students who have worked so hard on this case over the years. This brief benefited from the assistance of Patrick Fenior and Emily Hoyle as well as assistance from GW grad (and my local counsel in the Al-Timimi case) Thomas Huff and my assistant Seth Tate.

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Russians Sentence Ukrainian Filmmaker To 20 Years Despite Recantation By Main Witness And Allegations of Torture

YouTube screenshot
YouTube screenshot
The crackdown on free speech continued in Russia this week with the sentencing of a leading critic of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was given 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror attacks. Critics have denounced the case as a sham prosecution of a critic and compared the move (like so many under Vladimir Putin) as a return to Soviet-style trials for critics.

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Laugh Less, Protest More? Comedians Reportedly Avoiding Colleges and Universities Due To Speech Regulations

nicubunu_open_mouthThere is an interesting story out this week of how comedians are avoiding college campuses due to the increasing levels of speech regulations and complaints over speech deemed insulting to any group. We have been discussing the rapid expansion of speech controls on campuses and the loss of core principles of free speech that once defined American academia. The rule today appears to be to laugh less and protest more on campus.

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Idaho School Bans Confederate Flag On Student’s Car

Confederate_Rebel_Flag.svgWe have previously discussed the ongoing controversy over the confederate flag as well as past cases of student speech being curtailed. This story combines those themes after Jordan Beattie, a student at Cossa Academy in Wilder, Idaho was banned from flying the confederate flag that his girlfriend had given him. He was told that the flag was interpreted to be a gang symbol.

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