Florida man arrested at city council meeting wins SCOTUS review of retaliatory arrest standard

U.S. Supreme Court


A Florida man who fought the seizure of his floating home before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 is back before the court with a new First Amendment case that challenges his arrest at a city council meeting.

Fane Lozman claims he was arrested while speaking at the Riviera Beach meeting in retaliation for accusations of political corruption and opposition to a marina redevelopment plan, the Associated Press reports. The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the case. A YouTube video of the events leading up to the arrest is here.

Lozman is asking the court to decide whether he can pursue a retaliatory arrest claim even though jurors ruled a police officer had probable cause to arrest him when he refused a council member’s direction to stop talking, SCOTUSblog reports.

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Prosecutors later dropped the charges against Lozman, and Lozman sued the city. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Lozman.

In an interview with the Sun Sentinel, Lozman explained why he is pursuing the case.

“What makes America beautiful is our personal freedoms,” he said. “And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anybody take away my First Amendment rights to free speech.”

In the previous case, Lozman had argued Riviera Beach had no authority to seize his floating home under federal maritime law. The court agreed, ruling the home was not a “vessel” subject to the law.

The new case is Lozman v City of Riviera Beach. The cert petition is here (PDF) and the SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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