A superior court judge has again denied a request by Keene officials to establish a buffer zone between so-called Robin Hooders and parking enforcement staff.
In a decision issued Friday, Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. said that while the city had "significant governmental interests at stake," the proposed injunctions are too narrow in protecting city staff because they go against the Robin Hooders' First-Amendment rights to free speech.
"The Court cannot conceive of any more narrow or alternative relief that would provide any meaningful protection to the (parking enforcement officers) without running afoul of the Respondents' First Amendment rights," Kissinger wrote in his order.
Kissinger's decision comes about three years after city officials first filed suit against six people claiming they verbally harassed officers, encouraged them to find new jobs, followed them closely in a distracting manner and created safety concerns for drivers and the officers.
The people were participating in an activity they called Robin Hooding, which involved putting money in expired meters before parking officers could issue tickets. The Robin Hooders' also videotaped their activities.
The defendants named in the suit were James Cleaveland, Garret Ean, Kate Ager, Ian Freeman, Graham Colson and Peter Eyre.