State infringed upon the free speech rights of Occupy Trenton protesters.

Superior Court, Mercer County, Chancery Division/ Direct

Bennet D. Zurofsky, Esq.; David Perry Davis, Esq.; Edward Barocas/ ACLU-NJ

On October 27, 2011, the ACLU-NJ sued the state of New Jersey for infringing upon the First Amendment rights of Occupy Trenton protesters. The ACLU-NJ sued to stop the state from enforcing unconstitutional rules that violate their free speech rights. The rules at issue were made up and enforced only after protesters first descended on Veterans Park on State Street on October 6, with blankets, laptops, a small generator, coolers of food and tarps for rain. On October 13, Raymond Zawacki, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs in New Jersey’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, issued an edict prohibiting any camping or picnicking items from the park. The next day, the State Police confiscated most of the protesters’ property, including their computers, coolers, the generator and their protest signs. Within three weeks, the court granted a temporary restraining order in favor of the Occupy Trenton protesters. On February 6, 2012 the judge issued a permanent injunction preventing the Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs from enforcing most of the rules outlined in the Zawacki letter.

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