Second Circuit Injunction Appeal
Motion Was To Be Heard In January;
Now On The Docket For
'Earliest Possible 3-Judge Motions Panel'
Panel Could Decide On Feb. 13 When To Hold Actual Hearing
Still No Trial Date In New Haven
Following Kravitz's Crackpot Ruling, aka Travesty
Two FOI Decisions Could Come Soon
By ANDY THIBAULT
The Cool Justice Report
Feb. 5, 2008
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com
The Douche Bags of Region 10 and their highly-paid crew of lawyers are trying to run out the clock on the Avery Doninger Free Speech Civil Rights lawsuit. The federal judiciary has been overtly compliant and supportive thus far in preserving the status quo.
Still, even in this era of ignoring the Constitution, government-sanctioned torture and the demolition of the Bill of Rights, there remains some cause for hope.
An order filed Jan. 25 in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals referred Hartford Atty. Jon Schoenhorn's motion for a hearing in the Doninger case to the "earliest possible" 3-judge motions panel.
The motion is for an expedited scheduling order for appeal from denial of motion for preliminary injunction. The injunction request -- denied in September 2007 by U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz -- would have affirmed that Avery Doninger won a plurality by write-in vote for Class of 2008 Secretary at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington. Avery Doninger was willing to share duties as Co-Secretary with the student who won the sham election. Kravitz couldn't even get that right in his post-dated decision. The injunction, if granted, also would have asserted free speech rights and protected all Connecticut students from the long arm of school administrators.
The Jan. 25 order means the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City will hear the request to grant an expedited appeal.
Notably, a prior request was denied with the stipulation that the court hear the request sometime in January. That stipulation obviously was not upheld. The U.S. Second Circuit thus far has failed to comply with its own order.
As the historian Howard Zinn noted, "It doesn't matter what the First Amendment says; it matters who has the power to enforce it or ignore it."
On another front, decisions regarding an illegal, closed-door meeting held by the Regional District 10 Board of Education and the withholding of public records including legal bills could be issued soon by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. Hearings on those matters were held in October 2007 and last month.
Depending on the backlog of cases before a particular hearing officer, a hearing officer's report on at least one of those cases could come this month. An official at the FOIC office said last week that one of the hearing officers in those cases had a backlog of three cases and the other hearing officer had 19.
How much is the Douche Bag legal team being paid to fight the civil rights of students? Could it be hundreds of thousands of dollars? Members of the Region 10 school board could tell the public right now if they felt like it. Perhaps we'll learn when the FOI Commission issues a decision.
Background On The Famous Douche Bag Case
The school system that banned Avery Doninger from running for office and suppressed the write-in vote electing her as 2008 Class Secretary of Lewis Mills High School in Burlington had some explaining to do on Jan. 4.
Three complaints were consolidated for a state Freedom of Information Commission hearing held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 4, at 18-20 Trinity St., Hartford. A decision could take weeks or months.
The FOI complaints center on the suppression of the write-in vote, the failure to produce ballots promptly as required by the FOI law, and the failure to produce numerous other records including details of legal bills incurred by taxpayers.
Following is a Readers Digest version of the case:
Avery Doninger, a senior at Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, CT, has civil rights actions pending in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City and U.S. District Court in New Haven. She and her mother, Lauren Doninger, sued Principal Karissa Niehoff and Superintendent Paula Schwartz after they removed Avery from the ballot for Class of 2008 secretary.
Avery Doninger was among a group of four students who lobbied the community for support of an annual battle of the bands sponsored by the Student Council. The student council adviser suggested the students reach out to taxpayers and the students copied the adviser an on email to the community.
Schwartz became very upset after taxpayers called her and she cancelled the event known as Jamfest. Doninger subsequently referred to administrators in a live journal blog as central office douche bags, and Schwartz's son found the posting while trolling the internet for his mother a couple weeks later. While Avery Doninger was banned from school office, another student who called Schwartz a dirty whore was given an award and lauded for citizenship.
School officials suppressed the write-in vote in which Doninger was elected by a plurality. Schwartz refused to accept Doninger's apology for her choice of words. During an assembly, Niehoff banned free-speech and Team Avery t-shirts and seized at least one shirt.
The Doningers are seeking -- among other remedies -- an apology for civil rights violations, recognition of the write-in victory and sharing of the secretary position with the administration-backed candidate.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz denied a motion for a preliminary injunction [immediate relief] and his ruling is being appealed to the Second Circuit. A hearing was expected to take place in January in New York City.
The FOI hearing scheduled for Jan. 4 had been postponed twice: from Dec. 6, so Schwartz could vacation in Aruba during her last month on the job; and on Dec. 13 because of snow.