.- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, unanimously ruled in favor of three pro-life demonstrators who were detained for three hours by police.
The Court reversed a lower court’s decision and said that the three-hour police detention of law-abiding citizens presented valid constitutional claims under the First and Fourth Amendments.
The case arose out of an incident that occurred on June 10, 2002. The three demonstrators were driving box-body style trucks displaying images of first-term aborted babies in the Dayton, OH, area. After numerous city police arrested the pro-lifers, they were reportedly detained so that the FBI could “gather intelligence” on them.
The Thomas More Law Center, a national, public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., brought the case on behalf of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc., a California-based, pro-life organization, and three of its members.
Robert Muise of the Law Center successfully argued that the lengthy detention violated the demonstrators’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable police searches and seizures. He further succeeded in showing that the police violated the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights by targeting them for disfavored treatment because they were “anti-abortion.”