State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Free Speech Case

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October 21, 2010
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The California Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of owners of the Galleria Mall in Roseville, east of Sacramento, who challenged an appellate court ruling allowing speech at the shopping center unrelated to retail business.

In 2006, mall security officers arrested Matthew Snatchko for talking with three teenagers about his religious beliefs, in violation of the mall's policy of requiring a permit for speech or activities unrelated to the mall or one of its stores.

Snatchko lost an initial lawsuit, but on appeal Third District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the mall's permit requirement violated free speech rights.

The appellate court decision was written by Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Governor Schwarzenegger's nominee to replace retiring state supreme court Chief Justice Ronald George.

In 1979, the state supreme court issued a landmark free speech ruling that owners of a shopping mall in the Silicon Valley could not bar political activists from distributing leaflets at the mall.

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The day after the high court refused to take up the Galleria mall lawsuit, a man barricaded himself inside a store in the Galleria and started a fire, which spread and resulted in extensive damage.