Free Expression - On September 9, 2015, the ACLU of Utah and the Utah Civil Rights & Liberties Foundation filed a complaint on behalf of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, Jeremy Beckham, and Alexis Levitt challenging Farmington City’s “Free Speech” Ordinance. The suit alleged that on its face, the Ordinance violated the Utah and United States Constitutions because it required a permit for almost any conceivable form of public expression and imposed criminal penalties for failing to comply.
As long-time animal rights activists, Mr. Beckham and Ms. Levitt participated in peaceful protests on the sidewalk and on a public right of way to protest the conditions of the animals at Lagoon. After the protests, they were charged with misdemeanor offenses of the Ordinance because they had not obtained a permit for those free speech and assembly activities.
As soon as the lawsuit was filed, the U.S District Court issued an unopposed order immediately halting enforcement of the Ordinance. Soon after, Farmington repealed the Ordinance and the criminal charges against Mr. Beckham and Ms. Levitt were dropped. A settlement was reached with Farmington City.