ACLU-NJ Wins Temporary Restraining Order in Favor of Occupy Trenton Protesters

State Must Return All Belongings to Protesters by November 14 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org NEWARK – A Superior Court judge has validated the free speech rights of Occupy Trenton protesters and has ordered the state to return all of the food, medical supplies, computers and other property that it confiscated on October 14. “This is a victory in our efforts to secure full free rights for Occupy Trenton,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas. “The state cannot arbitrarily create restrictive policies just because it does not like how people are using a public space.” Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Trenton granted a temporary restraining order preventing the state from enforcing some of the “rules” issued in a letter from Raymond L. Zawacki, the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in response to the Occupy Trenton demonstration that began in Veterans Park on October 6. Protesters will now be allowed to have their laptops, coolers, signs and other items at the park on State Street. The judge ordered the state to return all confiscated belongings to protesters by November 14. The judge further confirmed that the protesters must be allowed to maintain a continuous 24-hour presence at the park, although the protestors cannot set up tents or other structures. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Occupy Trenton on October 26. The lawsuit claims the state’s imposition of previously-nonexistent restrictions on the protesters, and the seizure of their property pursuant to those restrictions, violated their rights to free speech and due process. Judge Jacobson acknowledged Occupy Trenton’s likelihood to succeed in the case, noting that the state failed to follow proper procedures when it made up the restrictions governing the use of the park. She explained that the Occupy Trenton demonstrators “are entitled to have restrictions on their constitutionally protected activities imposed by rulemaking and not informal action targeted at their demonstration.” On October 26, ACLU-NJ cooperating attorney Bennet Zurofsky appeared in court to ask the judge to impose a temporary restraining order to stop the state from enforcing the illegal rules. The ACLU-NJ will appear in court again on December 19 for another hearing on the matter. Occupy Trenton is also being represented by ACLU-NJ cooperating attorney David Perry Davis and ACLU-NJ Legal Director Edward Barocas. The brief and complaint in the case can be found www.aclu-nj.org .

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.