New Mexico village's 'no criticism' rule struck down by federal court

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has come down hard on New Mexico village officials who tried to ban residents from saying anything negative at Council meetings.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/BbVwN2) that U.S. District Judge James O. Browning issued an injunction Monday finding that the village of Ruidoso's rule or policy barring speakers from being critical is "an unconstitutional burden on free speech."

Under the village rules, a speaker could praise personnel, staff or the village Council, or could make a neutral comment, but couldn't voice criticism.

In an 89-page opinion, Browning granted summary judgment to lawyer William Griffin, who sued after the Council refused his request to speak at a meeting.

Browning said limits can be placed on time and topic, but not on the speaker's opinion.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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