Disrupting a Meeting is Not a Free Speech Right
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens do not have a free speech right to disrupt public meetings.
Monday's ruling comes in the case of Robin Hensel, who was convicted of disorderly conduct for disrupting a Little Falls City Council meeting in 2013.
Hensel argued her First Amendment rights were violated. But the appeals court disagreed, saying a state law that makes it a crime to disrupt lawfully assembled meetings is constitutional.
The judges say the statute protects the ability of officials to govern, and citizens can express dissatisfaction with government in ways that don't disrupt meetings.
Hensel's attorneys plan to ask the Supreme Court to review the case. An attorney for the state says the ruling reaffirms that governing bodies have the ability to control their meetings.