United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TRAVIS SEALS ET AL.
BRANDON MCBEE ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (Doc. 25). For the foregoing reasons, the Motion is
an altercation with his neighbor, Plaintiff Travis Seals
alleges that he was arrested at his home by deputies from the
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office. During the arrest,
Seals objected to the deputies' conduct, including the
use of pepper spray, and threatened to make a lawful
complaint regarding their conduct. Seals was charged with,
among other things, public intimidation and retaliation in
violation of Louisiana Revised Statutes § 14:122 for
that threat. Section 14:122 makes it a crime to threaten a
public official “with the intent to influence his
conduct in relation to his position, employment, or
duty.” The charge was ultimately dismissed or refused.
Plaintiffs argue that, on its face,
§ 14:122 makes it criminal to “threaten” to
take lawful actions, such as oppose or challenge police
action, write a letter to the newspaper, or to file a
lawsuit. They argue that such statements are protected
speech, and § 14:122 is therefore unconstitutionally
overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. The Attorney
General has intervened to defend this allegation of
unconstitutionality. In the instant motion, Plaintiffs move
for partial summary judgment on their claim that §
14:122 is an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of
speech, and they seek an injunction prohibiting further
enforcement of the statute. The Attorney General has opposed
this Motion and seeks summary judgment in its favor pursuant
to Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. 56(f).
judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law.” A genuine issue
of fact exists only “if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court views facts in the light most favorable
to the non-movant and draws all reasonable inferences in his
favor. “If the moving party meets the
initial burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to
produce evidence or designate specific facts showing the
existence of a genuine issue for trial.” Summary judgment
is appropriate if the non-movant “fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case.” “In
response to a properly supported motion for summary judgment,
the non-movant must identify specific evidence in the record
and articulate the manner in which that evidence supports
that party's claim, and such evidence must be sufficient
to sustain a finding in favor of the non-movant on all issues
as to which the non-movant would bear the burden of proof at
trial.” “We do not . . . in the absence of
any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could or would
prove the necessary facts.” Additionally, “[t]he
mere argued existence of a factual dispute will not defeat an
otherwise properly supported motion.”
Motion, Plaintiffs seek a ruling that Louisiana's public
intimidation law, § 14:122, is unconstitutional and an
injunction preventing Defendants from further enforcement of
the statute. The Attorney General opposes this Motion and
seeks summary judgment in its favor pursuant to Fed. Rule
Civ. Pro. 56(f).
totality, Louisiana Revised Statutes § 14:122 states
Public intimidation is the use of violence, force, or threats
upon any of the following persons, with the intent to
influence his conduct in relation to his position,
employment, or duty:
(1) Public officer or public employee.
(2) Grand or petit juror.
(3) Witness, or person about to be called as a witness upon a
trial or other proceeding before any court, board or officer
authorized to hear evidence or to take testimony.
(4) Voter or election official at any general, primary, or
(5) School bus operator.
Retaliation against an elected official is the use of
violence, force, or threats upon a person who is elected to
public office, where:
(1) The violence, force, or threat is related to the duties
of the elected official.
(2) Is in retaliation or retribution for actions taken by the
elected official as part of his official duties.
Whoever commits the crime of public intimidation or
retaliation against an elected official shall be fined not
more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without
hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.
arguments primarily center on the constitutionality of the
statute's prohibition on threats made with the ...