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Acosta CA9 Opinion

Acosta CA9 Opinion

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a major decision in a case the ACLU of Southern California filed in 2006. It struck down an ordinance in the city of Costa Mesa that limited free speech at its City Council meetings.

The decision said the ordinance was unconstitutional and that members of the public are free to express their thoughts and opinions whether they are critical or laudatory of their city government. This is a victory for individuals who can now freely and without fear address their local government.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a major decision in a case the ACLU of Southern California filed in 2006. It struck down an ordinance in the city of Costa Mesa that limited free speech at its City Council meetings.

The decision said the ordinance was unconstitutional and that members of the public are free to express their thoughts and opinions whether they are critical or laudatory of their city government. This is a victory for individuals who can now freely and without fear address their local government.

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05/13/2013

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FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
B
ENITO
A
COSTA
,
 Plaintiff-Appellant 
,v.C
ITY OF
C
OSTA
M
ESA
;
 
A
LLAN
M
ANSOOR 
, Mayor of the City of Costa Mesa, in his official andindividual capacities,
 Defendants-Appellees
,J
OHN
H
ENSLEY
, Chief of Police,Costa Mesa Police Department;D
AVID
A
 NDERSEN
;
 
D
AVID
D
E
H
UFF
;J
OHN
D
OEZIE
;
 
B
RYAN
G
LASS
;D
ANIEL
G
UTH
;
 
D
AVID
M
AKIYAMA
;J
EFF
T
OBIN
;
 
D
EREK 
T
RUSK 
; in their official and individual capacities,
 Defendants
. No. 10-56854D.C. No.8:06-cv-00233-DOC-MLGOPINIONAppeal from the United States District Courtfor the Central District of CaliforniaDavid O. Carter, District Judge, PresidingArgued and SubmittedJuly 9, 2012—Pasadena, CaliforniaFiled May 3, 2013
Case: 10-56854 05/03/2013 ID: 8614568 DktEntry: 32-1 Page: 1 of 50
 
A
COSTA V
.
 
C
ITY OF
C
OSTA
M
ESA
2Before: Richard C. Tallman and N. Randy Smith, CircuitJudges, and Dee V. Benson, District Judge.
*
Per Curiam Opinion
SUMMARY
**
Civil Rights
The panel reversed in part and affirmed in part the districtcourt’s judgment entered following a jury verdict in thisaction challenging Costa Mesa Municipal Code § 2-61, whichmakes it a misdemeanor for members of the public who speak at City Council meetings to engage in “disorderly, insolent,or disruptive behavior.”Reversing the district court, the panel held that the statutewas facially invalid because it failed to limit proscribedactivity to only actual disturbances. Rather, the statuteunnecessarily swept a substantial amount of non-disruptive, protected speech within its prohibiting language. The panelfurther determined that because neither the term “insolent” insubsection (a), nor the terms “personal, impertinent, profane,insolent” in subsection (b)(1) could be severed from § 2-61,the entire section needed to be invalidated.
*
The Honorable Dee V. Benson, District Judge for the U.S. DistrictCourt for the District of Utah, sitting by designation. 
**
This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.
Case: 10-56854 05/03/2013 ID: 8614568 DktEntry: 32-1 Page: 2 of 50
 
A
COSTA V
.
 
C
ITY OF
C
OSTA
M
ESA
3The panel nevertheless held that § 2-61 wasconstitutionally applied to plaintiff because the jury implicitlyfound that his behavior actually disrupted the Councilmeeting. The panel further found that officers did notemploy excessive force when enacting plaintiff’s seizure andarrest and used only the force reasonably necessary to remove plaintiff from the meeting. The panel also held that plaintiff failed to show prejudice by the admission of his prior statement into evidence and that the district court did not err  by rejecting plaintiff’s proposed jury instruction.
COUNSEL
Belinda E. Helzer (argued), ACLU Foundation of SouthernCalifornia, Orange, California; Hector O. Villagra and Peter J. Eliasberg, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, LosAngeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.M. Lois Boback (argued) and Daniel K. Spradlin, Woodruff,Spradlin & Smart, APC, Costa Mesa, California, for Defendants-Appellees.
OPINION
PER CURIAM:Costa Mesa Municipal Code § 2-61 makes it amisdemeanor for members of the public who speak at CityCouncil meetings to engage in “disorderly, insolent, or disruptive behavior.” Benito Acosta (“Acosta”) was removedfrom the Costa Mesa City Council meeting for an allegedviolation of the ordinance. Acosta appeals the district court’s
Case: 10-56854 05/03/2013 ID: 8614568 DktEntry: 32-1 Page: 3 of 50

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