Federal court dismisses fines for Capitol protester

Federal court dismisses fines for Capitol protester

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A federal court upheld a lower court’s ruling Thursday that permit rules in place for the daily solidarity sing-along at the state Capitol are unconstitutional.

A leaderless group of protesters gather daily in solidarity at the Capitol to voice their grievances. The former permit rules required any group of 12 or more to obtain a permit to protest. Many protesters received fines and citations for not having the correct permit, which are now expected to be dismissed.

The court ruled that, in this case, the Department of Administration was infringing on the activists’ First Amendment rights by requiring those permits. 

Michael Crute, a local talk-show host, was one of many activists who had his fines lifted by the decision. In their decision, the court explained that the permit requirements were invalid due to the statutes being “narrowly tailored” to the interests of the government.

Zee Lemke, who has been active in the daily protests, said, “I have 3 outstanding tickets … I’ve been handcuffed 3 times.” She described her fellow singers as, “a gentle, angry people.” Given the recent decision, Lemke fully expects her tickets to be cleared.

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