S.H.A.R.K. v. Metro Parks Serving Summit County
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Judicial District
499 F3d 553 (2009)
MOORE, Presiding Judge
Rule of Law: The Privacy Protection Act (PPA) and the First Amendment rights were brought into question by the Plaintiffs. The judges ruled out the violation of the First Amendment rights and focused on the Privacy Protection Act as the main claimed offense. FACTS:
Steve Hindi is the founder of S.H.A.R.K, a non-profit corporation that exposes organizations for inhumane practices on animals. Metro Parks Serving Summit County is owned by the government and operates public parklands. Metro Parks hired White Buffalo Inc. to cull deer during the winter and teach the Metro Parks rangers how to kill the deer through sharpshooting methods. The culling was supposed to occur in public places of the park, but when the park was closed to the public. S.H.A.R.K. planted nine camouflaged cameras to video tape the culling then to share the footage with the media. Some of the cameras were found and removed by Metro Parks which S.H.A.R.K considered a violation to their First Amendment rights and the Privacy Protection Act.
Should the press have only as much access to public property as the rest of the public? Is the Privacy Protection Act in violation if property is seized in a public area and if the information that is seized was collected at a time that was not available to the public?
OPINION AND DECISION:
The court decided that the removal of the cameras that were placed in the park to collect footage of the deer culling was not in violation of the First Amendment. The reason that it did not violate the First Amendment is because although the park is a public area for all to see and visit, the recordings took place during times that the park was closed to the public. This means that S.H.A.R.K. has not right to the access of the video footage of the deer culling. The court also came to the...
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