November 30, 2012
DENVER – At a hearing today, the Federal District Court in Denver scheduled an evidentiary hearing for the ACLU of Colorado's First Amendment lawsuit challenging the recently adopted “no solicitation zone” ordinance covering 12 city blocks of downtown Colorado Springs, including Acacia Park. That hearing will take place on December 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m., and Judge Marcia Krieger will hear evidence and arguments presented by Colorado Springs City Attorney Chris Melcher, ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein, and ACLU staff attorneys Rebecca T. Wallace and Sara Rich.
While the ordinance was originally slated to go into effect, December 2, 2012 for the holiday shopping season, the city changed that date to December 19, 2012.
“We are pleased that Colorado Springs has taken steps to postpone the effective date of the ordinance,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “That provides the court more time to consider our evidence, review the caselaw, and issue a ruling before First Amendment activity is banned in the Downtown No-Solicitation Zone.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four organizations and four individuals, including:
- Greenpeace and Pike’s Peak Justice and Peace Commission (PPJPC), two nonprofit advocacy organizations that want to carry out outreach and fundraising activities downtown
- Star Bar Players, a nonprofit theater group that solicits pedestrians to buy tickets
- The Denver Voice, which seeks to protect its right to dispatch newspaper hawkers to the downtown area
- James Binder, a street musician who plays the flute on the downtown sidewalks
- Ronald Marshall, a disabled Colorado Springs resident who parks his wheelchair on a sidewalk corner while asking politely for spare change
- Laurel Elizabeth Clements Mosley and Roger Butts, who assert their right to receive the communications that the new ordinance will silence
Links to the ACLU’s complaint, legal brief, and other documents can be found here.