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10th Circuit Court Upholds Free Speech Zones

10th Circuit Court Upholds Free Speech Zones

Posted - Apr. 2, 2004 at 5:41 p.m.



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John Daley ReportingDenied -- a court ruling on free speech zones today. It rejects a request to stop new rules from going into effect.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a decision by a federal judge here in Utah to allow the city's plan for those zones to stand.

The court said in its decision that the preachers' group could not prove irreparable harm if temporary relief was not granted, and did not speak to the constitutionality of the law.

The issue: so-called free speech zones and balancing first amendment rights with concerns of public safety.

At the last general conference in October, tensions boiled over and a pair of street preachers was assaulted by a pair of conference-goers. In return, Salt Lake City devised a new set of rules, which included free speech zones, for various groups interested in demonstrating.

For this weekend's conference both pro-and anti-LDS Church demonstrators signed up for permits in the zones.

But the street preachers challenged that decision, saying it violated their religious and speech rights. They prefer no zones at all and want free access to any public property as long as they don't obstruct traffic.

They asked a federal judge here in Utah to stop the rules from going into effect. Judge Tena Campbell denied their request for a temporary restraining order, saying the city had properly balanced public safety concerns with First Amendment rights.

Today in Denver a three-judge panel held an hour-long conference call with attorneys representing World Wide Street Preachers and the city.

Of course, you can expect street preachers to be here tomorrow, and also for there to be a good-sized police presence.

(Associated Press Contributed to This Report)

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