11:44am

Tue November 15, 2011
Courts Have Consistently Sided with Protesters

Nashville's Occupy Experience Relevant Nationwide?

Nashville’s Occupy protest experience may be a foretaste of what’s to come for cities around the country.

A New York judge has apparently ordered that Occupy Wall street protesters be permitted to return to the park that police forcibly evicted them from this morning.

Here in Middle Tennessee, the courts have consistently sided with protesters.

A Nashville judge dismissed trespassing and other citations against 55 Occupy Nashville protesters yesterday and ordered their records expunged.

The ruling was the latest in a series of defeats for Gov. Bill Haslam's attempt to dislodge the group from the State Capital grounds.

Tennessee State Troopers cleared protesters from Legislative plaza in late October, arresting 55.  But a Nashville magistrate ordered their immediate release.

Two days later a federal judge ordered Tennessee to halt the arrests. During that hearing Judge Aleta Trauger called the arrests a "clear prior restraint on free speech.”