General Recap & Update (Summer 2006)

People’s Advocate v. Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (Calif.)—Suit for declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent expenditure of public funds for research focused on embryonic stem cells and cloning. Adverse ruling from trial court; appeal pending. Please see pages 2 and 3 for more on this case.

National Tax Limitation Foundation v. Westly (Calif.)—Suit challenging award of grants to University of California for training scientists in embryonic stem cell research. Grants were made in violation of state conflict of interest laws.

Roe v. Planned Parenthood (Ohio)—Victory!

NOW v. Scheidler—In November, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the pro-life activists’ appeal from a decision granting substantial damages and a purported nationwide injunction. LLDF filed amicus briefs in both the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as assisting the defendants with post-trial motions in the trial court. Victory! Unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of Scheidler and co-defendants (NOW v. Scheidler (2006) 126 S.Ct. 1264) CASE CLOSED.

Pedigo v. Hershey (Calif.)—Amniocentesis detrimentally used on pre-born child with improper consent. Civil suit filed. Case proceeding in trial court.

O’Toole v. San Diego Community College District—Pro-lifer arrested and held for carrying sign on public college campus; he was released two days later, without having been cited. Claim filed and rejected. Plaintiff and defendants filed writ of petition to Fourth District Court of Appeal of California. Court ruled against plaintiffs, finding that police were entitled to statutory immunity for the arrest. Further appellate proceedings under consideration.

Moreno v. Riverside Community College (Calif.)—Suit against public college for arrest of pro-lifers engaged in free speech activity. Discovery in process.

Logsdon v. Cincinnati Women’s Services (Ohio)—Civil action in Ohio court for defamation and conversion against Cincinnati abortion clinic and clinic owner for interfering with sidewalk counselor’s pro-life signs and for false reports to police that led to two arrests. Clinic closed and clinic owner filed for bankruptcy in October 2005, triggering automatic stay of proceedings. Attack on bankruptcy discharge is pending and other action is under consideration.

Logsdon v. Hains (Ohio)—Federal civil rights lawsuit for damages filed against two Cincinnati police officers for arresting sidewalk counselor at abortion clinic and filing charges against him without probable cause. Police filed motion to dismiss claims on basis of qualified immunity. Awaiting decision.

Krug v. Billings Montana—Pro-life sidewalk counselors were arrested on separate occasions; all criminal charges were dismissed. False arrest suit pending.

Mason v. Colorado School of Mines (Colo.)—Following successful defense of pro-life activists for alleged trespass on public property, civil suit filed against public university for violation of constitutional rights. Victory! Case settled with change of school speech policy and award of attorney fees.

People v. Coatney (Mich.)—Pro-lifer cited and convicted for parking violation for parking his privately-owned bus with prolife signs near abortion clinic, not at a bus stop. When he parked it at a bus stop, he was again cited for illegal parking. Appeal pending.  McCullough v. Long Beach Community College (Calif.)—Suit against public college for arrest of pro-lifers engaged in free speech activity. College’s motion for summary judgment defeated, but writ proceedings are pending.

People v. Stiefken et al. (San Bernardino)—Sidewalk counselors charged with obstructing a business. Victory! Charges dropped after multiple court appearances, when District Attorney finally viewed videotape showing what actually took place.

FWHC v. Sanctity of Human Life Network et al. (Sacramento)—FWHC brought a contempt action against Harry Reeves for allegedly violating an injunction. He was accused of yelling, blocking, and substantially disrupting clinic operations. Victory! After the court reviewed a videotape of Mr. Reeves’ activities he was exonerated except for a technical finding of contempt related to the tape, for which the court imposed a minimal fine. FWHC then sought to recover attorney fees. Their motion was denied. Mr. Reeves sought and was granted a modification of the injunction so that he can videotape in order to effectively defend himself against future false accusations of contempt.

People v. D’Alessio (Oakland)—Sidewalk counselor charged with interfering with a business by pro-abortion guard at Family Planning Specialists. Case pending.

Storms, et al. v. California State University Los Angeles—Pro-lifers arrested for remaining on campus after being told they could only hold signs in a deserted area near campus police station. Charges dismissed. Civil rights action filed against university.

Klein, et al. v. San Diego County et al.—Federal challenge to San Diego residential picketing ordinance. Decision pending from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Mason v. Klaus (Calif.)—Pro-lifers arrested for free speech activity on California State University Long Beach campus after being told that they could not hold signs. Complaint filed.

Buchinger v. Santa Barbara City College—Pro-lifers arrested for remaining on campus and engaging in free speech activity. Lawsuit pending.

Laubacher and Parents’ Right to Know v. McPherson (Calif.)—Declaratory relief granted establishing compliance of Parents’ Right to Know petitions with statutes. Also ongoing legal advice and representation reelection law and free speech issues.

Feminist Women’s Health Center v. Canfield (Chico)—Feminist Women’s Health Center obtained a Temporary Restraining Order on allegation that sidewalk counselor verbally threatened doctor. At the evidentiary hearing, issue was raised whether the abortion facility and doctor provide informed consent to the mothers seeking abortion, per Penal Code 187 (the Murder Statute) in that the statute states that the unlawful killing of a fetus is murder unless the mother aids, abets, solicits, or consents to the abortion. Judge excluded evidence, but suspended the trial to allow Mr. Canfield to appeal that ruling. Appeal pending.