first amendment rights en ACLU warns 84 Michigan cities and towns to change their local panhandling laws <p><a href="">Dozens of Michigan communities </a>are getting letters from the American Civil Liberties Union warning them that their anti-panhandling laws may be unconstitutional.</p><p>Over the summer, a federal appeals court ruled Michigan’s anti-panhandling law was unconstitutional.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 19:12:50 +0000 Steve Carmody 15040 at ACLU warns 84 Michigan cities and towns to change their local panhandling laws Birmingham settles ACLU lawsuit with new First Amendment policy <p>The city of Birmingham has settled a federal lawsuit by adopting a new free speech policy.</p><p>The Michigan ACLU sued the city after animal rights protesters were arrested last year.</p><p>Protesters with the Southwest Michigan Animal Rights Team (SMART) were holding signs and passing out literature outside a Birmingham fur store in December 2012.</p><p>Police told the protesters they had to “keep moving” in order to be there. When one protester questioned the officers, she was arrested and charged with loitering.</p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 22:34:41 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 14221 at Investigations, outrage after Detroit Police arrest news photographer <p sizcache="32" sizset="98">Detroit and <a href="" jquery17105371509835429399="11"><u><font color="#000080">national news media are in an uproar</font></u></a> after learning a news photographer was arrested for filming police last week.</p><p sizcache="32" sizset="99">Detroit Free Press photographer Mandi Wright was filming police making an arrest on her iPhone last Thursday.</p><p sizcache="32" sizset="99">Here's the video:</p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 02:30:10 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 13568 at Investigations, outrage after Detroit Police arrest news photographer Michigan Court of Appeals rules against former school teacher, who was fired after reporting abuse <p>The Michigan Court of Appeals has tossed a big jury award in a former Detroit school teacher's whistleblower lawsuit.</p><p>In 2004, Beverly Garvin claims a fourth grade student told her that two boys had forced her to perform oral sex. Garvin says she reported the alleged assault to her superiors and nothing happened. Garvin says when she persisted, including contacting police, she was transferred and eventually fired.&nbsp;</p><p>A jury awarded Garvin $750 thousand in damages.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 20:28:24 +0000 Steve Carmody 11446 at Michigan Court of Appeals rules against former school teacher, who was fired after reporting abuse School sued after firing lesbian teacher <p><strong>Correction:&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong>&nbsp; <em>An earlier version of this story spelled "Corunna" incorrectly. It has been fixed.</em></p><p>The Corunna Public School District is facing a federal lawsuit after a lesbian teacher was fired. The controversy started with a Diversity Club at the high school in the small town west of Flint.</p><p>Brook Johnson was a teacher/advisor to the Diversity Club. In 2009 the club decided to put up a display in honor of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History month. It featured photos of celebrities who had come out as gay or lesbian. It caused controversy and the school board ordered it removed.</p><p>The ACLU challenged the decision. The Corunna Board of Education changed its position and allowed the display.</p><p>The lawsuit alleges the administration then turned on Johnson, ostracizing her and then forcing her out. Wed, 06 Feb 2013 21:54:53 +0000 Lester Graham 11119 at City of Dearborn, Michigan pays $100,000 in lawsuit by evangelists <p>DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - The city of Dearborn has paid $100,000 in legal fees to attorneys for a Christian evangelist whose free-speech rights were violated at a popular Arab-American street festival.</p><p>Dearborn has a large Muslim population and one of the nation&#39;s biggest concentrations of people with roots in the Arab world. <em>(Photo above of the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the U.S. by Flickr user ruffin_ready.)</em></p><p>City police in 2010 barred George Saieg and his allies from freely walking sidewalks with literature to convert Muslims to Christianity. Chief Ron Haddad says he was just controlling foot traffic, but a federal appeals court says the city violated the First Amendment.</p><p>The court says allowing the evangelists on the festival&#39;s perimeter wasn&#39;t good enough.</p><p>As the prevailing party, Saieg was entitled to legal fees and other costs from Dearborn. His lawyers say the money was paid last week. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 16:20:49 +0000 The Associated Press 6445 at City of Dearborn, Michigan pays $100,000 in lawsuit by evangelists Terry Jones appeal argued in Michigan court <p>The free speech case of a controversial Florida Pastor best known for burning the Quran <a href="">has started in Wayne County</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>A jury found Terry Jones guilty of breaching the peace in April. Dearborn police arrested him before he could proceed with an anti-Islamic protest outside the country&rsquo;s largest mosque on Good Friday.</p><p>Jones wants that decision reversed. He also wants the court to lift an ongoing injunction that bars him from protesting in that spot.</p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 02:07:57 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 4481 at Terry Jones appeal argued in Michigan court Judge strikes down Michigan law barring protests at military funerals <p><strong>Update 1:44 p.m.</strong></p><p>A federal judge has struck down the Michigan law that bars protests at funerals.</p><p>Detroit U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington says the law violates free speech rights and is too vague too enforce.</p><p>Lewis and Jean Lowden challenged the law after they were stopped and removed from a funeral procession by police.</p><p>They had signs critical of President George W. Bush taped to their car windows.</p><p>They were on their way to the burial of a family friend who died in Iraq.</p><p>Dan Korobkin is the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represented the Lowdens. He says it is still illegal to disrupt a funeral.</p><p>&quot;But what&rsquo;s not against the law is to express your own views on a public street and risk being arrested or penalized for that just because your views don&rsquo;t accord with the views of other people &ndash; either at the funeral or, even in this case, the police officers who were directing traffic,&quot; said Korobkin.</p><p>The law was passed largely to stop the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at the funerals of fallen service members. Members of the church show up outside military funerals with signs that say the deaths were caused by America&rsquo;s tolerance of homosexuality.</p><p><strong>10:55 a.m.</strong></p><p>This just came in from MPRN&#39;s Rick Pluta:</p><blockquote><p>A federal judge has struck down the state law barring protests at military funerals.</p></blockquote><p>The Michigan law was passed in 2006 to keep members of the <span class="st">Westboro Baptist Church </span>from demonstrating at military funerals. More than 40 states passed similar legislation barring the practice, according to the <a href="">First Amendment Center</a>.</p><p>Last March, <a href="">the U.S. Supreme Court</a> ruled in favor of the Westboro protesters in the &quot;Snyder v. Phelps&quot; case.</p><p>Last month, <a href=";utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_topstories+%28RSS%3A+Top+Stories%29">a similar state law in Missouri</a> was found to be unconstitutional by a federal judge.</p><p>We&#39;ll have more from Rick Pluta later today. Fri, 09 Sep 2011 17:44:58 +0000 Rick Pluta & Mark Brush 4092 at Controversial Florida pastor will finally hold his rally in Dearborn this evening <p><a href="">A controversial Florida pastor</a> is scheduled to begin a rally in downtown Dearborn at this hour. The rally will take place in front of <a href="">Dearborn </a>city hall.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 29 Apr 2011 20:49:36 +0000 Steve Carmody 2290 at Controversial Florida pastor will finally hold his rally in Dearborn this evening Supreme Court rules in favor of Westboro funeral protestors <p>In &quot;<a href="">Snyder v. Phelps</a>,&quot; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.</p><p>The Church got attention by picketing military funerals holding signs that read:</p><ul><li>&quot;God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11&quot;</li><li>&quot;America is Doomed&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t Pray for the USA&quot;</li><li>&ldquo;Thank God for IEDs&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;Thank God for Dead Soldiers&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;Pope in Hell&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;Priests Rape Boys&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;God Hates Fags&rdquo;</li><li>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re Going to Hell&rdquo;</li><li>and last, but not least... &ldquo;God Hates You.&rdquo;</li></ul><p>From the <a href="">Wall Street Journal</a>:</p><blockquote><p>The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects a fringe religious group that protested at the funeral of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq.</p><p>The court, on an 8-1 vote, ruled that the soldier&#39;s father couldn&#39;t sue Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., for celebrating his son&#39;s death with vulgar funeral pickets and an online attack.</p><p>The case was a test of how far the First Amendment goes in protecting offensive speech. Wed, 02 Mar 2011 17:07:14 +0000 Mark Brush 1476 at Supreme Court rules in favor of Westboro funeral protestors CMU students listen to and protest lecture of fundamental church members <p>Members of the controversial <a href="">Westboro Baptist Church</a> spoke to journalism students at <a href="">Central Michigan University</a> Monday. The church is known for protesting at the funerals of U.S. soldiers. <span class="article-content"><span>The group was invited to speak to journalism law students about how far free speech is protected by the first amendment.<br /> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 01:54:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 218 at CMU students listen to and protest lecture of fundamental church members