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    Public Law Legal Research Blog

    Jason Holder

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    CIVIL RIGHTS: Third Circuit Joins Sister Circuits in Recognizing Right to Record Police

    Posted by Jason Holder on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                Amanda Geraci ("Geraci") attempted to record a Philadelphia police officer's actions as he arrested an antifracking protester. Fields v. City of Philadelphia, 862 F.3d 353, 356 (3d Cir. 2017). Despite the fact that she was not interfering with the officer, a second officer pinned Geraci against a pillar, preventing her from observing or recording the arrest. Id. Geraci faced neither arrest nor citation for her actions. Id.

                Richard Fields ("Fields") was walking down a public sidewalk when he noticed a number of police officers breaking up a house party across the street. Id. As Fields took a photograph of the scene, an officer ordered him to leave the scene. Id. When Fields refused, the officer arrested him, confiscated his phone, and searched it opening "several videos and other photos." Id.

                Geraci and Fields brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, inter alia, "that the officers illegally retaliated against them for exercising their First Amendment right to record public police activity."  Id.

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    Topics: civil rights, right to record police activity, First Amendment, right of access to information

    CIVIL RIGHTS: Third Circuit Joins Sister Circuits in Recognizing Right to Record Police

    Posted by Jason Holder on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 8

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                Amanda Geraci ("Geraci") attempted to record a Philadelphia police officer's actions as he arrested an antifracking protester. Fields v. City of Philadelphia, 862 F.3d 353, 356 (3d Cir. 2017). Despite the fact that she was not interfering with the officer, a second officer pinned Geraci against a pillar, preventing her from observing or recording the arrest. Id. Geraci faced neither arrest nor citation for her actions. Id.

                Richard Fields ("Fields") was walking down a public sidewalk when he noticed a number of police officers breaking up a house party across the street.  Id. As Fields took a photograph of the scene, an officer ordered him to leave the scene. Id. When Fields refused, the officer arrested him, confiscated his phone, and searched it opening "several videos and other photos."  Id.

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    Topics: civil rights, right to record police activity, First Amendment, access to information

    EDUCATION LAW: Scotus Offers Circuits Guidance as to Scope of 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l) and the Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

    Posted by Jason Holder on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 @ 13:09 PM

    Jason Holder, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq., is designed "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education ["FAPE"]." 20 U.S.C. § 1400(d)(1)(A).  In Fry v. Napoleon Community School, 137 S. Ct. 743 (2017), the Supreme Court examined an IDEA provision which "addresses the Act's relationship with other laws protecting those children." Id. at 748. While the provision does not limit rights under other federal laws, it provides that "if a suit brought under such a law 'seek[s] relief that is also available under' the IDEA, the plaintiff must first exhaust the IDEA's administrative procedures." Id. (citing 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l)).

                Under the IDEA, an individualized education program ("IEP") serves as the primary vehicle for providing a child with a FAPE. Id. at 749 (citing Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 311 (1988)). If parents are unsatisfied with an IEP, they can file a complaint with the local or state educational agency (as provided by state law) or "may instead (or also) pursue a full-fledged mediation process." Fry, 137 S. Ct. at 749. Next, the parents may seek a due process hearing appealable to a state agency (if originally conducted at the local level). Id. Only after these steps are completed may a parent seek judicial review with a civil action in state or federal court. Id.

                In Fry, the petitioner’s condition meant that she required a service dog to help her live as independently as possible. Id. at 751. The dog, "Wonder," performs myriad tasks including "retrieving dropped items, helping her balance when she uses her walker, opening and closing doors, turning on and off lights, helping her take off her coat, [and] helping her transfer to and from the toilet." Id. Under the existing IEP, Wonder was not permitted to accompany petitioner to school with school officials believing that a human aide rendered Wonder superfluous. Id.

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    Topics: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, free appropriate public education, individualized education program, exhaustion of remedies

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