Federal court rules Westfield mayor in violation of First Amendment
February 24, 2014
SPRINGFIELD – A federal judge has ruled that Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik violated the First Amendment rights of two political candidates and a local property owner by ordering campaign signs removed on the eve of the 2011 municipal election. . . .
In his ruling, Ponsor granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, saying the mayor had violated their state and federal rights. . . .
Knapik moved for reconsideration of the ruling Monday. William Newman of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs, responded by calling Knapik’s motion “a tawdry example of an elected official seeking to evade responsibility for his actions.”
“Lawn signs are a way in which ordinary people can meaningfully participate in democracy,” Newman added, “and it’s important to protect that ability to participate.”
Newman, the director of the ACLU’s Western Massachusetts office, was assisted in the case by Luke Ryan of the Northampton law firm Sasson, Turnbull, Ryan & Hoose.