Jefferson County Attorney Moves Occupy Louisville Case to Federal Court

by Devin Katayama on January 5, 2012

The Jefferson County Attorney has transferred the Occupy Louisville hearing to federal district court.

The move involves First Amendment arguments made by Occupy Louisville representatives, said Bill Patteson, spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney’s office.

“We made a motion in federal court to have the case brought from Circuit Court and that was accepted and that’s with the full communication of the counsel for Occupy Louisville,” he said.

The county attorney has been reviewing the Founder’s Square area, which is deemed an undefined space by the city, yet managed by Public Works.

The city previously said it would not reissue a permit and include overnight camping as an option. A court hearing in the Circuit Court was expected Friday, but it now awaits a hearing date from the Western District Court of Kentucky.

In the meantime, Codes and Regulations director Jim Mims said the city is requesting demonstrators apply for another permit. Mims said he expects the city to respect their agreement with demonstrators to wait until after the hearing, but said he’ll move forward with managing the Founder’s Square space.

“I’ve had no direct conversations with the mayor about this matter. And he hasn’t called me and said do this or do that. I think he’s asking that we manage this permit the best we can just like we manage a number of other special event permits that we have each and every year,” Mims said.

City officials have consistently said it will not allow overnight camping with any new permit issued, but Mims would not confirm nor deny what the city planned to do if demonstrators request a similar permit that includes overnight camping.

This will delay any actions the city plans to take against demonstrators who have spent the night at Founder’s Square since November, said mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter. The city will not take any actions against demonstrators until the arguments are heard before a court, he said.

A federal court date has yet to be scheduled.

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