(July 29, 2003) -- LBReport.com posts below public documents on a matter with significant public policy implications that we believe the public has a right to know.
We post below the substantive portions of legal briefs filed with the 2d district Court of Appeal (state appellate court) on both sides of the appeal by the City of Long Beach in the case of City of Long Beach v. California Citizens for Neighborhood Empowerment [CCNE] et al.
Although other media outlets don't generally provide coverage of this depth, we believe the issues raised and arguments on both sides are important and will be welcomed by thoughtful readers.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, in April 2002 the City of LB filed a Prop M civil action against CCNE alleging the group (registered as an independent political committee) violated LB Campaign Reform Act by accepting contributions in excess of LB's Prop M contribution limits in support of a Mayoral candidate (not alleged with wrongdoing) in the April 9, 2002 election.
In September, 2002, a Superior Court dismissed the city's action by granting a "special motion to strike" made by CCNE under CA's "anti-SLAPP" suit law. That law empowers a court to toss out a civil lawsuit claim "arising from any act [of a person] in furtherance of that person's right of petition of free speech" under the U.S. or state Constitutions unless the plaintiff establishes a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim.
CCNE, by its attorneys, brought that type of motion to strike against the City of LB's Prop M civil action...and an L.A. Superior Court granted it. The City of LB, by the City Attorney's office, has filed an appeal seeking to reverse the Superior Court's action and thereby reinstate the city's Prop M civil enforcement action against CCNE.
In March-April 2003, the City (the appellant) filed an Opening Brief, CCNE (with its treasurer, both respondents) filed a Respondents' Brief and the City concluded with a Reply Brief. These were submitted to a three-judge appellate panel which heard oral argument in the case on July 11. LB City Attorney Robert Shannon presented oral argument on behalf of the City of LB. L.A. attorney Bradley Hertz (firm of Reed & Davidson) argued on behalf of CCNE and its treasurer.
The Court of Appeal is expected to rule in the coming months. When it does, LBReport.com will report it.
We post the substantive portions of the appellate briefs in pdf form below. We've omitted title pages, indices, legal notices and the like to conserve file space.