A federal judge has
awarded $41,000 to a trucker who was arrested for videotaping three
Pennsylvania state troopers while they inspected his truck.
According to the Philadelphia
Daily News, the judge found that troopers Patrick V. Fetterman, John Rigney
and Gregg Riek violated the free speech and unreasonable seizure rights of
Allen E. Robinson simply because he was “annoying them.”
Three years ago,
Robinson was pulled over on Route 41 in Chester County, PA. He started videotaping
the officers while they were inspecting his truck and was arrested when he
refused to stop videotaping.
“At all times he was
20 to 30 feet from the officers and was not interfering in any way with the
truck inspections,” said U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III in his written
opinion. “Robinson was simply recording the activities of Pennsylvania state
troopers as they went about their duties on a public highway and its adjoining
Robinson had been
convicted two years before the incident for a similar videotaping situation, at
which point he was convicted of harassment and told not to do it again.
However, Bartle said the earlier judge “had no legal justification to tell
Robinson he could not be near the truck inspection site on Route 41 in the