Fortuna Woman Files Suit to Defend First Amendment Rights
Two months after it pooped on the US Constitution, Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors has finally been sued over its courthouse protest “urgency ordinance.” The Board and county staff purport the ordinance was in response to health and safety issues.
Among other things, the ordinance established a nightly curfew at the courthouse grounds and made it illegal to hang a protest sign at the courthouse.
Janelle Egger, one of several people arrested solely for being present at the courthouse during a candlelight vigil on April 7th, has filed a complaint with the federal courts, charging the ordinance violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Two Korea/Vietnam era veterans were also arrested by the Sheriff’s deputies that evening, for sitting in lawn chairs on the steps of the courthouse.
The ordinance was passed on March 27 by a 4-1 vote of the Board of Supervisors, Mark Lovelace dissenting. Because the ordinance purported to be in response to a health and safety emergency, it took effect immediately rather than after a normal review period.
Egger, who lives with her husband in Fortuna where they raised two children, has been active at the courthouse for several months. Assistance and financial support for the filing came from the Humboldt County Civil Liberties Defense Fund.
[Note: “Mitch” also assisted Egger with some research.]