Case status: The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and co-counsel Paul Hughes of Mayer Brown LLP and the Yale Law School Supreme Court Clinic have filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. At stake is the central question: When police permit and even escort First Amendment activity, can they suddenly mass arrest all those peacefully participating without issuing fair warning or notice that permission has been revoked? We argue that the underlying decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirming arrest in the exercise of free expression without fair warning stands in conflict with every other circuit that has addressed the question.
Press CoverageThe Supreme Court has declined to review whether it's legal for American police to mass-arrest peaceful protesters without first giving them a warning and an opportunity to disperse. "The Supreme Court has let stand a Second Circuit ruling that poses a clear and present danger to democracy, free speech and a free press," says Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and an attorney for the protesters. "It signals all those who would join a peaceful police-escorted demonstration, or report on it, that even if they comply with all police directives they can nonetheless be arrested with no warning and be subject to years of prosecution and possibly years of imprisonment," she says.An important case defending the right of protesters against mass arrests may be headed for the Supreme Court. "The [lower] court, de Blasio and the NYPD are telling people that if you want to engage in peaceful First Amendment assembly, if you see a demonstration, if you join an activity that's visibly escorted by police — even if you think you're obeying the law — you can suddenly find yourself in jail with no notice, no warning, no opportunity to disperse," says Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. "And who can take that risk?"While New York Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly expresses sympathy with protesters over Eric Garner’s death, the city’s Law Department is seeking new authority to make mass arrests at protests.Hundreds of people arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge in the early days of the Occupy Wall Street protests can proceed with their lawsuit against the police, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.As Occupy Wall Street notched its second anniversary on Tuesday, many of its supporters marked another milestone: one more day pursuing lawsuits against New York City.
MultimediaMara Verheyden-Hilliard, Attorney, Partnership for Civil Justice discusses the legal work that has been undertaken to protect Occupy encampments across the nation.Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Attorney, Partnership for Civil Justice discusses the legal work that has been undertaken to protect Occupy encampments across the nation.This week hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors around the country have been arrested, sometimes clashing with police dressed in riot gear. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard joins us to discuss the laws that govern police actions and protester rights in Washington.Political activist, Marcel Cartier, discusses the Occupy Wall Street protests and their suppression by the NYPD.