DeGise v. Torres

On December 8, 2020, Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and several Hudson County Commissioners were granted a court order placing severe restrictions on protesters who peacefully demonstrated outside the county executive’s residence. The protesters — whom law enforcement officers repeatedly characterized as “calm” during their demonstrations on the sidewalk outside the county executive’s residence — were calling on the county executive to end the county’s contract with ICE to detain people at the county jail.

The court ordered the following restrictions on protesters:

  • Protests can occur only between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. once every two weeks  
  • Protesters are relegated to a specific street corner in Jersey City that is out of sight from the county executive’s residence
  • Protesters cannot demonstrate within 200 feet of the named commissioners’ homes
  • Demonstrations are restricted to 10 people 
  • Protesters must provide 24 hours’ notice to both the local police and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office prior to protesting  

The ACLU-NJ took on representation for several of the protesters, arguing that the restraints are overbroad, vague, and not narrowly tailored, and that the elected officials were driven by animus toward the protesters in seeking these restraints. Instead, existing ordinances are sufficient to protect the county executive’s residential privacy.

While briefing the case and developing the evidentiary record, the county commissioners voluntarily dismissed their claims against the protesters and the county terminated its contract with ICE.

Status

On October 1, 2021, the ACLU-NJ filed Defendants’ summation brief. The evidentiary record is now closed and parties are awaiting a decision.

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