Monday, December 5, 2011

Were Rights Violated? Supreme Court to weigh: Can man sue Secret Service agents ?

The US Supreme Court agreed on Monday to examine whether two Secret Service agents can be sued for arresting a Colorado man who criticized US policy in Iraq during a public appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney at a shopping center in 2006.

Secret Service agents arrested the man, Steven Howards, in part because they did not like what he said to Mr. Cheney.  They later justified the arrest by claiming Mr. Howards lied to them about whether he “touched” the vice president during the brief encounter.

At issue in Reichle v. Howards is whether the two agents must face a civil trial – and a Colorado jury – over allegations that they conducted a false arrest and violated Howards’s First Amendment right to express his political opinion in public to an elected official.

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