FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Sue Cobb/Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
Federal Court Upholds Denver’s Convention Plans
Affirms Denver’s Commitment to Free Speech
(DENVER) U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger issued her decision Tuesday upholding all of Denver’s security and access plans at the Pepsi Center during the Democratic National Convention and determining that Denver’s arrangements for expressive activities fully meet the constitutional rights of demonstrators.
“This action has evolved and the issues have been narrowed through consistent, good faith negotiation among the parties and the professionalism and skill of their counsel,” wrote Judge Krieger in her 71-page ruling.
Judge Krieger concluded that: “…the Defendants have shown that the restrictions are content-neutral, that they are narrowly tailored to serve important governmental interests, and that there are adequate alternative channels by which the Plaintiffs can communicate their messages. Thus, the Plaintiffs have not shown that their First Amendment rights will be infringed, nor that they are entitled to any injunctive relief. Judgment will enter in favor of the Defendants as to claims with regard to the Pepsi Center."
Of the three Democratic National Conventions since 2000, Denver is the only host city whose plans were fully upheld and not ordered or modified by the federal court.
“Our commitment to robust free speech and assembly has never wavered,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “It is gratifying to have the Court recognize and uphold our efforts to promote numerous opportunities for public expression while simultaneously addressing genuine security and logistical issues. With this validation of our plans, we continue moving forward – focused on making the Convention a safe, inclusive and enjoyable event for all.”
A list of Denver’s efforts to support free speech during the Democratic National Convention include the following:
Provision of 96 opportunities for assemblies in 12 downtown parks from August 22 through August 29, to organizations with diverse viewpoints.
Provision of a roughly 50,000 square foot public area – with a stage and amplification system - where demonstrators and the general public can express views within sight and sound of delegates entering the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field at Mile High. Delegates can choose to come within eight feet of the public viewing area if they want.
Provisions enabling demonstrators’ pamphlets and electronic communications to be available to delegates.
Provision – without the usual fees – of a designated parade route through downtown connecting marchers and the public to the event site all four days of the Convention.
Ability of people to speak freely in virtually all public spaces and on walkways throughout the City, except those closed to the public for security reasons
Provision of innovative opportunities for public expression and participation through multimedia initiatives like Cinemocracy.org, Dialog City, and America: Live and In Person.