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Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: beagledave
Date: March 21, 2012 08:29AM
[www.npr.org]


The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case involving the arrest of a Colorado man who was thrown in jail after telling Vice President Cheney in 2006 that the Bush Administration's policies in Iraq were "disgusting."

<snip>

What makes this case doubly fascinating is the fact that even the Secret Service agents involved in the arrest do not agree on what happened. The agents who actually saw the encounter testified they saw no threatening action.

<snip>

In this case, the agents, backed by the Obama administration, are contending that in cases involving protection of the president and vice president in particular, law enforcement officers must make split-second decisions — and that their protective actions would be chilled if they could be sued for making the wrong call. They want immunity from lawsuits.

Howards counters that the essence of American democracy is the ability of its citizens to express their opinions to elected officials, and that if police officers cannot be held accountable for retaliatory arrests, the rights of citizens will be greatly inhibited.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: March 21, 2012 08:35AM
"@#$%&" - Dick Cheney
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: March 21, 2012 09:07AM
Sound more and more like the arresting agent screwed up.... And was transferred to... GUAM ? Definitely a "why don't you retire" messsge there...
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: graylocks
Date: March 21, 2012 10:39AM
i heard that report this morning. as described it did sound like a retaliatory arrest but the retaliation was for pissing off the agent not for 'threatening' cheney; that was bogus.

i'm surprised a pissing contest has gotten this far. i was thinking the plaintiff must not be black because any black person would know responding as he did to a cop was just asking for trouble, deserved or not.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: Grace62
Date: March 21, 2012 10:49AM
Let's see if you are hostile towards the VP, while putting your hand on him, then are seen acting anxious a few minutes later, then you refuse to answer agent questions and act like a jerk, I can see how that might lead to your arrest.

There may be some agency goofs here, but I think the service does a great job and they should get a little slack. This guy got his due process.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: August West
Date: March 21, 2012 11:50AM
Grace62,

I'm not sure I read the same article at you. It wasn't a few agency goofs, but the retaliatory actions of a law enforcement officer. "Charged with felony assault of the vice president," are you kidding me? As the man said, he would have been on the ground in an instant if that took place! There were no assault charges against the others shaking Chaney's hand. I don't find it far-fetched that this person tapped his shoulder while talking to him. I've yet to allege felonious assault against the innumerable people who have patted my shoulder while talking to me.

After the fact, he was arrested by an angry secret service agent. Perhaps the agent was having a bad day, perhaps he didn't like judgment on his actions protecting Chaney, perhaps he didn't like the guy and his comment to the VP, and certainly the other agents cited appeared to be doing a great job, but I don't excuse this agent's actions in the least.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: graylocks
Date: March 21, 2012 11:53AM
Quote
August West
Grace62,

I'm not sure I read the same article at you. It wasn't a few agency goofs, but the retaliatory actions of a law enforcement officer. "Charged with felony assault of the vice president," are you kidding me? As the man said, he would have been on the ground in an instant if that took place! There were no assault charges against the others shaking Chaney's hand. I don't find it far-fetched that this person tapped his shoulder while talking to him. I've yet to allege felonious assault against the innumerable people who have patted my shoulder while talking to me.

After the fact, he was arrested by an angry secret service agent. Perhaps the agent was having a bad day, perhaps he didn't like judgment on his actions protecting Chaney, perhaps he didn't like the guy and his comment to the VP, and certainly the other agents cited appeared to be doing a great job, but I don't excuse this agent's actions in the least.

agree smiley except it still felt like a pissing contest between this guy and an agent.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2012 11:54AM by graylocks.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: August West
Date: March 21, 2012 12:02PM
I agree, graylocks, and that is where I think the agent fell down. I think I've stated it before, I believe that it is incumbent on the officer to show the proper restraint, and not to expect that every member of the public will act well-mannered. If the guy mouthed off to the agent, he was wrong. But, if in response, the agent arrested him for felonious assault of the VP, in my mind, that was more egregious. The public grants the agent the power of life and death over the citizenry, and the agent needs to be held to a higher standard.

However, the case itself seems very interesting as to the merits of voicing opinion to elected officials. I'll have to read up on it.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: Grace62
Date: March 21, 2012 12:08PM
Yes I read the same article. What the Denver judge says makes sense:
the arrest was justified, whether it was retaliatory or not is undecided. I agree with the administration attorneys defending the service, they need a little slack to do their jobs. I don't see that this man had any rights violated, he convinced law enforcement that he was no threat. Fine. It's over. He could have answered questions and avoided arrest to begin with.

"The Denver-based federal appeals court ruled that the agents had sufficient grounds for taking Howards into custody, but the court also ruled that there was sufficient evidence to allow Howards to continue with his claim of retaliatory arrest."
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: August West
Date: March 21, 2012 12:59PM
Quote

He could have answered questions and avoided arrest to begin with.

Perhaps, perhaps not.

Quote
NYTImes
The appeals court said the arrest was lawful and so did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Mr. Howards lied about not touching Mr. Cheney, a point he has since conceded, and that was reason enough to arrest him, the appeals court said.

But the court nonetheless allowed Mr. Howards’s claim for retaliatory arrest to proceed to trial, saying his First Amendment rights may have been violated, since the agents could have been “substantially motivated” to take action against him based on his remarks.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: March 21, 2012 02:09PM
If it's a crime to tell the VP his policies are disgusting and then pat him on the shoulder or back, then the SS agent should be fired for letting it happen.
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Re: Interesting SCOTUS case..free speech vs. protecting Veep
Posted by: Pops
Date: March 25, 2012 12:25PM
I think the touching part was and is the real issue. I know it's only a small matter of degree, but holding out one's hand for a handshake is not the same as reaching over and touching a vice president.
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