BREAKING NEWS Boat sinks on Shasta Lake, 1 man dead Full Story
SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Supreme Court limits free speech claim in arrests

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said an individual cannot make a claim that he was arrested in retaliation for exercising his free speech if police had probable...

Posted: May 28, 2019 10:19 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said an individual cannot make a claim that he was arrested in retaliation for exercising his free speech if police had probable cause for his arrest.

The ruling is a victory for law enforcement, which argued in favor of a bright line rule that officers could follow that would also defeat possible frivolous claims from defendants objecting to their arrest.

The case concerned a man in Alaska who says he was arrested in retaliation for speech that is protected under the First Amendment. At issue before the court was a question that has divided lower courts: if police have probable cause to make an arrest, does that defeat a claim of retaliatory arrest?

The man, Russell Bartlett, was arrested in 2014 in Alaska while attending the Arctic Man festival, an extreme ski and snowmobile event held annually in the Hoodoo Mountains.

Although police and Bartlett maintain different accounts of what happened before the arrest, there is no dispute that after an altercation, Bartlett was arrested for disorderly conduct. Charges against him were later dropped, but he sued, arguing that he was arrested because he spoke out against the officers.

Bartlett's lawyer points to video that captured part of the event and says the trooper's account of the arrest is dishonest.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of Bartlett, holding that probable cause didn't preclude a claim of retaliatory arrest.

During oral arguments last year, Chief Justice John Roberts at one point suggested sympathy for the officers that day, referring to the event as being "10,000 mostly drunken people" in the middle of nowhere.

Justice Samuel Alito, on the other hand, worried during arguments about finding a line that would toss out frivolous claims but protect claims with merit, such as a journalist who wrote something critical of a police department and then later is given a "citation for driving 30 miles an hour in a 20-25 mile an hour zone."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 252895

Reported Deaths: 6334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1078263457
Riverside19450479
Orange16191363
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6556140
Fresno585177
Kern513081
Santa Clara5077160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento400469
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa356481
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Kings260032
Stanislaus253144
Monterey191515
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer82811
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo61325
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4553
Napa3764
San Benito2652
Sutter2433
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1484
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake870
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Oroville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 99° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Paradise
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Chester
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 44°
Red Bluff
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Willows
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Today was hot and tomorrow will be as well. But slightly below average temperatures move in as we see a dip in the jet stream.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events