Court backs Erie County councilman in free speech case
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A federal appeals court has agreed that an Erie County councilman did not violate a man's free speech rights by ejecting him from a meeting when the man refused to stop speaking after a public comment period ended.
Dan Galena, an activist and frequent council critic, sued Councilman Fiore Leone after the official had a sheriff's deputy escort Galena from a 2007 meeting.
An Erie County jury awarded Mr. Galena $5,000 in 2009, after ruling his free-speech rights were violated but U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin last year overturned the verdict and found that Mr. Leone acted properly.
The Erie Times-news says a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted 2-1 on Friday to upheld Judge McLaughlin's findings that Mr. Leone was only trying to restore order to the meeting and did not violate Mr. Galena's rights.
First Published April 25, 2011 10:09 am