Free Speech Rights Upheld in NJ — Six Year Legal Battle‏

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Great news! The Supreme Court of NJ did right by the First Amendment, upholding free speech rights for residents of HOAs, Condos, and Co-ops in the state.

It took six long years, and the determination of resident of Mediterranean South, Robert Dublirer, a semi-retired, former criminal prosecutor from NY.
Dublirer was a critic of the former condo Board, and in 2008, contemplated running for a seat on the Board. However, the Board at the time prohibited him from placing campaign leaflets under the doors of residents, so Dublirer sued the Association for violating his rights to free political speech.

The Supreme Court’s finding sets the records straight: First Amendment free speech residents in HOA, Condo, or Co-op in NJ must be upheld, and cannot be unduly limited by the Board. Constitutional free speech protections trump CC&Rs and Rules barring solicitation of residents, when such speech goes to the heart of democratic process of engaging in political discourse.

Kudos to Frank Askin, Rutgers School of Law professor who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

Thanks to the NJ Supreme Court’s unanimous decision upholding the state’s Constitutional rights in Common Interest Communities, the tide of decades of injustice is finally turning.

(link to story on fighting over leafletting)

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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