Appeals panel weighing Occupy Nashville suit

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CINCINNATI (AP) — A special three-judge appeals panel is weighing issues of protests, free speech, camping and executive power in a lawsuit brought by Occupy Nashville protesters arrested on War Memorial Plaza in October 2011.

The panel made up of judges from around the country focused on whether Tennessee officials acted properly in imposing a last-minute curfew for the plaza and in arresting those who refused to leave. The arguments in Cincinnati on Monday centered on issues of free speech and whether state officials improperly imposed the curfew before making arrests.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger last year found Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and former General Services Commissioner Steven Cates violated protesters' rights when they promulgated the curfew. Attorneys for the state asked that the ruling be overturned.