RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Most of us will never have reason to go before the Supreme Court. However, one local man learned Monday the nine justices want to hear his case.
Fane Lozman, the man who has already won one case before the high court, will get the chance to argue Riviera Beach was wrong to order his arrest during a 2006 city council meeting.
There’s actually video of the November 2006 council meeting that shows Fane Lozman getting up to speak during the public comments portion.Then seconds later, the council chairperson calls for his arrest.
“I was arrested because the chairperson did not like what I had to say,” said Lozman.
Now more than a decade later, the man who already won one case in front of the United States Supreme Court over his floating home, will take on the same city again. This time fighting, he says, for everyone's First Amendment rights.
“I wasn't disturbing the meeting, but they came up with that bogus excuse to drag me off to the holding cell of the police department."
After this happened, Lozman filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city violated his First Amendment rights when they arrested him while speaking out at the council meeting, claiming the arrest was in retaliation for his on going battles with the city.
However, he lost and now he’s fighting to change the rules.
“I didn’t win my lawsuit because there’s something called probable cause, where if there’s grounds for the arrest, you don’t get to the retaliatory First Amendment part of the case.”
He and his attorneys plan to argue that he should be able to sue the city even if there was probable cause to arrest him.
“I’m happy that I can contribute to upholding the principles of the First Amendment,” said Lozman.
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters was not in office then, but he was at that meeting and remembers the incident.
“Why that happened, I don’t know why. I can just tell you it has not happened since. And it better not happen now because we believe in freedom of speech.”
Masters says he’d like to see the city come to some agreement with Lozman.