A&A: Arrested at meeting for commenting on no-public-comment rule

Q: I was arrested recently  while attending and covering as a journalist a wildlife protection meeting. The meeting is sponsored and regulated by the California Natural Resources Agency and the Dept. of Fish and Game. The facilitators illegally tried to establish a no public comment and no recording policy at these public meetings. I was arrested for trying to openly record the meeting, and for stating that the no public comment policy was illegal. They have, as of last week, reversed their illegal policies. I want to file a large lawsuit in this matter.

A: As you may know, the general remedy under the Bagley-Keene Act, California’s open meeting law that applies to state agencies, is nullification of an action taken in violation of the Act or a declaration that a particular act violated the Act. See Gov’t Code sections 11123(a) and 11130.3(a).

It sounds like the suit you contemplate may relate more specifically to your arrest, which may implicate a broader set of issues. In any event, you be able to find an attorney to represent you through the FAC’s Lawyer’s Assistance Request Form at https://firstamendmentcoalition.org/lawyers-assistance-request-form/ or through one of the resources listed by the American Bar Association at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/main.cfm?id=CA.