IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LANCASTER COUNTY, PA
Ronald P. Harper, Jr. :
Christiaan Hart Nibbrig :
SkyZlimit, LTD t/a :
Lancaster Post :
19 North Mulberry Street : CI-08-11490
Lancaster, PA 17603 :
Franklin and Marshall :
Department of Public Safety :
Maureen Kelly, Director :
P.O. Box 3003 : :
Lancaster, PA 17604-3003 :
AND NOW, this 21st day of October, 2008, Petitioners’ Request for Emergency Relief is GRANTED. As one of the stockholders of the business entity responsible for publication of “Lancaster Post” and as an officeholder, Petitioner Harper has standing to request relief on his own behalf and on behalf of Petitioner Nibbrig as well. Consequently, this Order shall apply to both Petitioners Harper and Nibbrig.
Petitioners shall be permitted to attend the program sponsored by the League of Women Voters scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. Petitioners are authorized to be personally present at the Booth Ferris Room of the Steinman College Center, or any other location should the meeting site change, on the campus of Franklin and Marshall College for the entire portion, including any question and answer period.
Petitioners shall also be permitted personal access to the annual meeting of the Lancaster Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on Sunday, October 26, 2008, at 1:30 p.m., in Stahr Auditorium of Stager Hall, or any other location should the meeting site change, on the campus of Franklin and Marshall College. This authorization shall include the entire public portion of the meeting.
At the conclusion of both sessions, Petitioners are directed to depart the college campus in a reasonably appropriate period of time.
BY THE COURT:
DENNIS E. REINAKER
Kendra McGuire, Esquire
Ron Harper, Jr., 19 North Mulberry St., Lancaster, PA 17603
[Ron Harper, Jr. issued this statement early last evening before leaving to attend the Home Rule Debate at F&M. Judge Reinaker’s ruling will come later today.]
COURT TO F&M: LET RON HARPER, JR. ON CAMPUS!
A Lancaster County judge ordered Franklin & Marshall College to allow Lancaster Post publisher, Ron Harper, Jr., on campus to cover upcoming public political events.
Judge Dennis Reinaker issued the Emergency Order in a late Monday afternoon ruling. The order permits Harper and co-Publisher, Chris Hart Nibbrig to attend the League of Women Voters Home Rule Forum, and the ACLU-sponsored Candidates' Debate.
Harper, and co-publisher, Chris Hart Nibbrig, were arrested in June on public property by F&M security police after publishing articles about F&M president, John Fry. Harper was physically assaulted during the arrest. Both were detained for over 2 hours in F&M's Public Safety building. Both were given "Defiant Trespass Warnings," which prohibited either from being on any part Franklin & Marshall property.
In Reineker's courtroom, Harper, who is not an attorney, represented the Post. The college's lawyer, Kendra McGuire, a partner at Barley Snyder, the school's attorney of record, was there to argue that Harper and Hart Nibbrig should be barred from the public forums.
F&M first argued that Harper couldn't represent Hart Nibbrig because Hart Nibbrig was not present. Harper countered that he was an officer in the corporation that owns the Post, and that Hart Nibbrig would be in court the next day if the order wasn't extended to him.
When the judge ruled Harper could represent Hart Nibbrig and the company, and that he was about to order that both be allowed at the events, the F&M attorney then argued that there was no problem with Hart Nibbrig attending the events, they just objected to Harper attending.
Judge Reinaker was hearing nothing of the sort and ruled that Harper and Hart Nibbrig was to be permitted to attend the events, affirming their First Amendment protection.
"It's really ridiculous it has to come to this," said a subdued Harper. "That a law firm that represents a newspaper would attempt to quash another newspaper is against the Constitutional and un-American. That we have to go to a judge to cover a civil rights group on a 'liberal arts' campus is outrageous."
*** BREAKING NEWS ***
Ron & Chris Can Go!
I spoke directly to Lancaster County Judge Dennis E. Reinaker at 4:53 today by phone. He stated he issued an order at noon today that Chris Hart-Nibbrig and Ron Harper, Jr., co-publishers of the Lancaster Post, can both attend tonight’s League of Women Voters debate on the Home Rule Charter and also the ACLU annual meeting on Sunday on Franklin & Marshall's campus. Please check back tomorrow.
F&M President John A. Fry
Barley Sndyer LLC, the law firm that represents the Lancaster Newspapers, sent attorney Kendra D. McGuire to court yesterday on behalf of Franklin & Marshall College to try and keep Lancaster Post reporter Ron Harper, Jr. from attending a public debate on their campus.
She lost! Take that John A. Fry! Way to go, Harper! This is unbelievable!
Please check back later today…
*** BREAKING NEWS ***
10-20-08 / 7:30 pm
HARPER WINS AGAINST F&M!
A Lancaster Judge ruled today that Franklin & Marshall College must let Ron Harper, Jr., co-publisher of the Lancaster Post, attend the public Home Rule debate tomorrow on their property. Harper filed an Emergency Petition and Franklin & Marshall College unbelievably fought it in court today. Harper represented himself and Judge Dennis E. Reinaker ruled in his favor.
Will F&M try to keep Harper out of an ACLU event on Sunday? Does it get any more absurd? Has F&M lost their minds?
Please check back tomorrow for all the details on this breaking and unbelievable story.