CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Joseph Michael Logsdon stages peaceful demonstrations outside abortion clinics in Southwest Ohio, and Cincinnati police violated the anti-abortion protester's rights when they arrested him in 2003 and 2004. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said he was a regular presence outside the Cincinnati Women's Services clinic and was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
In the first incident, Logsdon said he went to retrieve a sign on the clinic's grounds that was taken by a clinic official. The sign was aimed at patients and said, "God has a plan for your baby."
The second incident was in June 2004, when he went into a public park adjacent to the clinic and spoke to a patient through a chain link fence. An officer took him into custody.
A three-judge appellate panel today reinstated the lawsuit Logsdon filed against the three police officers who halted his protests. He contends his First Amendment right to free speech and Fourth Amendment right against unlawful detention were violated. The original case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel earlier this decade. In reinstating the pro-life protester's case, the 6th Circuit said:
"Reading plaintiff's complaint in the light most favorable to him, defendants failed to reasonably determine whether they had probable cause. In the course of initially assessing whether probable cause to arrest existed, defendants respectively 'turned a blind eye" to potentially exculpatory evidence when they refused to listed to witnesses at the scene.
"A prudent officer must draw reasonable conclusions from the facts and evidence known to him as supported by 'reasonably trustworthy information.' It appears that defendants deliberately excluded from a totality of known facts and circumstance information that might bear on the accuracy, reliability, or trustworthiness of the report that plaintiff has trespassed on CWS's (Cincinnati Women's Clinic) property."