Gimme More!Gimme More!Gimme More!
Jeffy "the Juggler" Griffin and his Council Clown Clones
But Sam's Not "Clowning" Around.
JUDGE, IT'S ALL RIGHT THERE ON THE VIDEO TAPE.
IT'S CALLED THE "BEST EVIDENCE" RULE OF LAW.
Here is the Response that Sam filed:
........................................................UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
..................................................................DISTRICT OF NEVADA
........................................................Case No. CV-N-01-0376-RAM
"SAM" DENIS EDWARD DEHNE,
Lt Col, USAF, (ret) Sam Dehne, click here
LAW OFFICE OF
MARTIN G. CROWLEY
LAW OFFICE OF
JEFFREY A. DICKERSON
Attorneys for Plaintiff
................................................................................................COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND
CITY OF RENO, a municipal corporation,
JEFF GRIFFIN, individually,
.................................OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff, through his attorneys, opposes the Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. The basis of this opposition is that this case
clearly has genuine issues of material fact which prevent the
disposition of the matter by way of summary judgment.
IT'S ALL RIGHT THERE ON OFFICIAL VIDEO TAPE!
An appropriate understanding of the background leading up to this case
is important in order for the Court to understand the context in which
this matter arose.
In the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment they include as Exhibit #1,
The May, 1998 ORDER by the Nevada Commission on Ethics (hereinafter
"Commission"). That Order clearly sets forth that thePlaintiff, commonly
know as Sam Dehne, participated in that matter. See Exhibit 1 page 1.
In that opinion, the Commission concluded that "NRS281.510(2)
compels Mr. Griffin to abstain from participating in any future
vote regarding the Airport Authority that may come before the
Reno City Council as long as NFTS is involved with the Airport
Authority." NFTS is, of course, Nevada Foreign Trade Services, a
company owned by Defendant Jeff Griffin and which company had at
that time an exclusive contract with the Airport Authority being the sole
company to provide foreign trade zone services at the airport property.
Just twelve days before the events of June 22, 1999, Mr. Dehne and Mr.
Griffin were participants in a hearing before the Ethics Commission
regarding a possible violation of the Commission's Order by Mr. Griffin
based upon a Complaint filed by Mr. Dehne. It is in this context that
the Court must understand what took place on June 22, 1999 at the Reno
City Council meeting. It is clear that Defendant Griffin was still
"bristling" from his recent appearance at the Ethics Commission due to
the Complaint of Mr. Dehne. The Court should further note that the Reno
City Attorney's office represented Mr. Griffin at that June 10, 1999
ethics Commission meeting and was clearly aware of the Commission's
ruling and position concerning Mr. Griffin and airport matters.
At the time that the item designated as "14D" came up for discussion
before the Reno City Council, Plaintiff Sam Dehne had been patiently and
quietly waiting for his opportunity to speak for approximately five
hours. Defendant Griffin knew that Sam Dehne would challenge him if he
attempted to discuss the airport matter under item 14D.
In direct violation of the Ethics Commission Order, Defendant Griffin
attempted to not only participate in, but direct the course of the
discussion involving the Airport Authority matter and to eliminate
public comment from the Plaintiff regarding his involvement in violation
of the Ethics Commission ruling.
In direct violation of all established custom and procedure for public
comment on agenda items, Defendant Griffin attempted to call for a vote
on the issue of whether the City Council would hear Mr. Dehne's comments
on the matter. Defendant Griffin was motivated entirely by his desire
to conceal from the rest of the City Council the fact that he clearly
was violating the Commission ruling. Defendant Griffin knew that the
Plaintiff would point this out in no uncertain terms to the rest of the
City Council. The established practices of the City Council, as amended
on April 27, 1999, set forth clearly that "comments relating to a
particular agenda item must be made when that item is heard by the
Council." See page 7, City Council Rules and Regulations attached as
Exhibit 6 to Defendants' Motion. It was, therefore, Plaintiff's duty as
a citizen to bring to the City Council's attention the attempted illegal
conduct of Defendant Griffin. It was the exposure of that illegal
conduct that Defendant Griffin sought to avoid by prohibiting Plaintiff
to exercising his rights under the First Amendment. It is precisely
this type of conduct that the First Amendment was created to prevent.
Government officials attempting to work under a cloak of secrecy fear
the exercise of the First Amendment by honest citizens. The Defendants
have, in this Motion, mocked the true nature of the First Amendment and
what it stands for.
Even though the United States Supreme Court has declared that certain
activities such as nude dancing, burning of the American flag, and
marching in parades in full Nazi uniform while carrying the Nazi flag,
are all protected speech under the First Amendment, these are not
activities for which the First Amendment was born. There is absolutely
no question that the founding fathers enacted the First Amendment to the
United States Constitution for the purpose of speaking out against
government officials whose conduct must be challenged. It is this type
of exercise of First Amendment right that is considered by the Supreme
Court to be a "core" exercise of the First Amendment. The other
activities mentioned earlier, are not considered, "core" activities
under the First Amendment. See generally Schad v. Borough of Mount
Ephraim, 452 U.S. 61, 66 (1981).
"The general proposition that freedom of expression upon public
questions is secured by the First Amendment has long been settled by our
decisions. The constitutional safeguard, we have said, "was fashioned to
assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of
political and social changes desired by the people." Roth v. United
States, 354 U.S. 476 , 484 (1957) .
"The maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to
the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and
that changes may be obtained by lawful means, an opportunity essential
to the security of the Republic, is a fundamental principle of our
constitutional system." Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359 , 369 (1931).
At the time that Defendant Griffin engaged in his improper
participation and discussion of the airport matter, Plaintiff quietly
approached the Reno City Attorney and pointed out to her that Defendant
Griffin was in violation of the Commission ruling and it was her duty to
so inform Defendant Griffin. The video tape, attached by Defendants to
their Motion as Exhibit 3 clearly shows Plaintiff move in the direction
of the City Attorney's desk and subsequently the City Attorney
approaching Defendant Griffin and speaking to him.
While Ms. Lynch does not have a clear recollection of what she said to
Mr. Griffin it is an undeniable conclusion that she went to speak to Mr.
Griffin about exactly the point being raised by Mr. Dehne in such a calm
and entirely appropriate matter.
It was at this time that Defendant Griffin, in continuing to overstep
his legal authority, attempted to call a recess of the proceedings and
thereby curtail the present opportunity of the Plaintiff to address the
City Council regarding Defendant Griffin's violation. Mr. Griffin had
no authority to be directing the City Council discussion of the airport
issue and therefore his suggestion that the matter be continued over was
also improper. Of course, as we have previously pointed out, Defendant
Griffin was motivated solely by his desire to keep the public record
from being established that he was, once again, in violation of the
The Defendant Griffin did not need any time to reflect upon what he was
doing. He clearly knew that he was out of line and that he was about to
be publicly reminded of that fact and his only desire was to prevent the
rest of the City Council and the public in attendance from being
informed of his misdeeds. Defendant Griffin was therefore motivated
only by his self- interest which had nothing at all to do with the
conduct of the public meeting nor his concern that the meeting go forth
in an orderly fashion.
It is Defendant Griffin's motivation that underlies the violation of
Plaintiff's First Amendment rights in which of course presents a
question of fact for the trial of this matter.
Just as Defendant Griffin was motivated on June 22, 1999 to prevent the
truth from being declared before the City Council and the public in
attendance, so now, Defendant Griffin is motivated by his desire not to
have these issues aired before a jury impaneled to hear the matter.
Another item of undisputed fact that the Court should take notice of
concerns the announcement of Defendant Griffin that he had in fact
received a Request to Speak form from the Plaintiff on this particular
matter. The video tape clearly shows Defendant Griffin holding the
Request to Speak form in his hand and thereafter discarding the same
below the surface of the conference table. In his deposition Defendant
Griffin admitted that it is likely that he tossed Plaintiff's Request to
Speak form in the garbage. See attached Deposition of Defendant Griffin
at page 15.
By virtue of Defendant Griffin's actions, the Plaintiff was denied an
opportunity to address the rest of the City Council and the public on
this issue of important public concern. The disruption of the meeting
was caused by the unorthodox denial of Plaintiff's request to speak in
violation of the established practices and procedures. Had Defendant
Griffin simply acquiesced in allowing Mr. Dehne to speak, there would
have been no "disturbance" of any kind. After the Plaintiff stated that
he had a right to speak, Defendant Griffin could have easily remedied
the situation by stating "alright, let's hear what you have to say."
Defendant Griffin orchestrated an opportunity to remove the Plaintiff
from the meeting and thereby prevent the public exposure of his ethical
violation. The Plaintiff has appeared and spoken at literally hundreds
of City Council meetings. Defendant Griffin is well aware of the
Plaintiff's desire to be heard on numerous public issues and was also
clearly aware that if he attempted to deny Plaintiff the right to speak
at all on the subject that such would likely result in the Plaintiff
making the demand to speak just as he did. This, of course, gave
Defendant Griffin the opportunity to eject the Plaintiff from the
meeting on the pretext that such was a "disruption."
Those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is
a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the
American government. They recognized the risks to which all human
institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured
merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is
hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds
repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable
government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss
freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies, and that the fitting
remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason
as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by
law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the
occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the
Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.
Thus, we consider this case against the background of a profound
national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should
be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include
vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on
government and public officials
New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).
The level of animosity of the Defendant toward the Plaintiff is
exhibited in this comment "could we have someone escort this clown out
of this room?" See transcript of tape page 5 line 13. Defendant
Griffin does not refer to Mr. Dehne by an appropriate title, but refers
to him as a "clown."
The Federal Court of the United States should not tolerate the
"clowning" around perpetrated by the Defense's Motion for Summary
Judgment. They totally misconstrue the facts that are plainly visible
with a cursory viewing of the official video tape of events leading up
to Plaintiff's wrongful removal from a Public Meeting by Jeff Griffin
and the City of Reno.
The official video tape proves beyond any doubt that it was the
Defendants Jeff Griffin and the City of Reno that instigated a
disturbance at the Reno City councilmeeting of 22 June, 1999.
The Defense's lengthy Motion for Summary Judgment demonstrates that no
matter how readable a document might be, if it uses faulty, fallacious,
and misleading assertions as its foundation, it is nothing more than
time-wasting diatribe. The official video tape of the Public Meeting
plainly shows that what actually happened at the Reno City council
meeting of 22 June, 1999 is in gross contradiction to Defense's baseless
and delusionary motion. When the Court examines the video tape that
plainly portrays the outrageous actions perpetrated by the Defendants,
it should be enough to schedule this case to a trial by jury as soon as
Some people think that an attorney (in this case a battery of
attorneys) is supposed to defend his client. And some people think that
it is not in good taste to chastise (another) attorney. But if, as in
this case, the best a team of taxpayer-funded attorneys can do is
conjure up gross distortions of the reality that is plainly seen on the
video tape of the of the wrongful removal of a citizen from a Public
Meeting, then it is obvious that the Defense is on very shaky ground...
and that they know it. Therefore the Court's time will not be wasted
responding directly to most of the Defense's grossly ill-contrived
Points and Authorities. The bare recitation of cases is neither
informative nor dispositive of any legal claim or defense.
The video tape plainly shows that Dehne was quietly tending to his
business of monitoring his government. Mr Griffin, with the acquiesce
of the rest of City council and of the Reno City attorney, took it upon
himself to mutilate the rules of good governance:
1. Griffin had no legal right to be chairing the meeting as soon as
Agenda Item 14D was introduced. The Nevada Ethics Commission had ordered
him to not participate in Reno Airport matters that come before Reno
City council. Thus the meeting was illegal from that point forward.
2. Griffin and the Reno City council then tried to conjure up a vote as
to whether or not Dehne would be permitted to perform his civic duty and
speak at Public Comment. In a mocking tone of voice he said he was not
inclined to let Dehne speak... as he dropped Dehne's Official Request to
Speak form into the garbage.
3. Griffin, with the acquiescence of the Reno City attorney and the rest
of City council, then attempted to cancel the meeting in violation of
Roberts Rules of Parliamentary Procedure. Dehne had whispered in the
City attorney's ear (privately) that Griffin was in direct violation of
an Ethics Order... an Order that had been discussed just 12 days before
in an Ethics Complaint Hearing against Griffin. When Griffin's
impropriety was pointed out to him, he refused to provide the courtesy
of even a cursory apology but instead ignominiously singled Dehne out
for embarrassment. Then he wrongfully ordered Dehne to "sit down" when
he had no right to make a citizen "sit," when other citizens were
allowed to stand.
4. Griffin then wrongfully ordered the City Manager to eject Dehne from
the Public Meeting. Dehne, who was not doing anything wrong, maintained
his citizenry right to be at a Public Meeting. His patriotic righteous
indignation was not only tolerable, it was a duty.
5. And then Griffin, with more acquiescence by the Reno City attorney
and the Reno City council, confessed to his wrongdoing.
This is all plainly visible on the video tape.
DEFENSE'S ARGUMENTS HAVE NO MEANING IN THIS CASE
The Defense has not provided a single case or example that is
anywhere near similar to the"outrageous" actions that were taken
against Plaintiff Dehne on 22 June,1999. That is, Defense has failed
to come forward with a situation wherein:
a. a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel (who is well-known as a
student of local government and as a Watchdog) is quietly seated in the
audience at a Public Meeting minding his business;
b. that citizen is suddenly shouted at and insulted;
c. that model citizen is wrongfully ejected from the Public Meeting (and
the subsequent meeting);
e. the wrongful removal was recorded on official video tape;
a video tape that conspicuously and markedly refutes the Defense's
f. the governing body was illegally convened in gross violation of the
Law, to wit:
At the instant that Griffin continued to chair the meeting after
introduction of Item 14D (in direct violation of an Ethics Decree) the
meeting became illegal. No Court can possibly misinterpret this plain
and clear Order to Griffin to not be chairman of council meetings or
participate in discussions, when Reno airport issues are discussed.
Griffin and the City of Reno are not empowered to disregard orders of
the Ethics Commission to suit their own convenience or for any other
And this entire masquerade was condoned, endorsed, and
acquiesced to by the rest of the council; as well as by the Reno City
attorney. It is plainly visible on the official video tape. Defendants'
Points and Authorities have absolutely no relevance to this atrocity.
The entire Reno City council is directly culpable (and not immune from
liability) because the City of Reno allowed Griffin to not only
illegally run their meeting; but they permitted him to exercise powers
that he did not have... because he should not have been at meeting.
Thus the taxpayer-funded Defense's lengthy list of Points and
Authorities conjured up in their ill-contrived Motion for Summary
Judgment are moot, irrelevant, immaterial, superfluous, impertinent,
and downright silly. Griffin and the rest of the Reno City council
participated in an illegal meeting.
Therefore all subsequent actions taken by the Griffin at the meeting
Instead of trying to build a defense on the actual facts, the Defense
has concocted dozens of pages of redundant boilerplate diatribe based on
false postulates and not by the official video tape of the crime. It
would appear that the repeated recitations to case law is done with the
assumption that if enough legal precedents are cited, the motion will
begin to take upon itself some merit.
The Defendants' gross lack of even a cursory knowledge of the Sacred
Oaths they swore to...or lack of understanding of critical elements of
the United States Constitution (as revealed by their outrageous
disregard of American governance in depositions)... is stunningly
It is ludicrous for Plaintiff to have to waste the Court's valuable time
responding to a Motion that is based on blatantly false hypotheses.
Anyone viewing the video tape can plainly see the victim being
wrongfully ordered out of a Public Meeting in direct contravention of
state statutes and the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of plaintiff.
For the reasons enumerated herein (and countless others) it is
respectfully requested that the Court dispose of the Defense's motion
for Summary Judgment forthwith. The Court should immediately schedule
the case to trial by a jury.
DEHNE'S WRONGFUL REMOVAL IN A NUTSHELL
The City of Reno's Motion for Summary Judgment is fatally flawed
and should be readily dismissed by the Court as subterfuge ~ obfuscation
of facts and deceit by omission ~ intended to manipulate the Court into
overlooking and disregarding the profound significance of documented and
self-admitted wrongdoing by Defendant Griffin.
During the Reno City Council meeting of June 22, 1999 ~ and at the
threshold of discussing Agenda item 14D ~ said meeting assumed
improper, discrediting, and illegal dimensions at the instant Mayor Jeff
Griffin, as presiding officer, violated a clear and binding order given
to him by the Nevada State Commission on Ethics ("Ethics Commission").
This lawsuit pertains to events pertaining to the Council's
consideration of Agenda item 14D.
When Griffin defied the subject order ~ and continued conducting the
meeting as if he had done nothing wrong ~ he clearly and tyrannically
abused his public powers, thereby voiding his normal authority to
conduct a public meeting in keeping with law, due process, and decorum.
Any public meeting which continues after the presiding officer violates
law and/or clear direction from the Ethics Commission cannot be viewed
and treated as a proper meeting based upon due process ~ and must be
viewed and treated as an insult to any notion of proper, respectable
Thus the points and authorities and cases relied upon by the biased
Reno City attorney's staff have no bearing on the criminal activity that
took place in this hideous City hall assault upon the Constitution.
This fact negates any requirement to waste the Court's time responding
to moot and irrelevant palaver by the defendants' attorneys.
Actions taken during any public meeting where due process is prostituted
cannot be viewed and treated as deserving weight of law, nor of
deserving public respect and compliance. "Government under law" is
farcical unless Due Process is enforced as the fabric of such principle.
Griffin's violation caused a de facto fatal disruption in the proper
conduct of said meeting. Said violation should have been immediately
recognized and properly addressed by City Attorney Lynch before the
meeting was permitted to continue, but was not.
City Attorney Lynch knew about the Ethics Commission's order to
Griffin; she should have enforced said order prior to being reminded about its
existence by Sam Dehne. For Lynch to ever claim that she was unaware of
the order would raise questions about her honesty and about her
competence as Reno's chief legal officer. If Lynch had immediately and
competently addressed Griffin's violation ~ and returned the meeting to
one duly recognizing the binding effect of any related Ethics Commission
order ~ it can be reasonably believed that events would not have
unfolded leading to Dehne being wrongfully removed from the involved
meeting by Griffin. If Lynch had not been remiss in failing to function
as a competent monitor of the legal conduct of the meeting, this lawsuit
would not have been made necessary.
All following events after Griffin's violation at the threshold of
discussing item 14D must be treated as null and void ~ without negating
the City's liability for wrongdoing ~ in that the meeting had been
fatally disrupted by Griffin's failure to observe binding direction from
the Ethics Commission. City Attorney Lynch's failure to recognize and
properly address Griffin's violations in a competent manner.
Therefore, in that the City's Motion for Summary Judgment speaks only
to events following Griffin's violation ~ without addressing the
significance of such violation ~ the same should be denied in its
entirety by the Court. In the City's Motion for Summary Judgment on page
2, lines 10-14, we read: "Some brief background information is necessary
to understand some of the events in this case. Some time ago, Mayor
Griffin owned a company that had a contract with the Airport Authority
of Washoe County ("Airport Authority"). On May 29, 1998, the Nevada
Ethics Commission ordered Mayor Griffin to disclose the contract and
abstain from voting on any Airport Authority matters which might come
before the Reno City Council."
Tying to this ~ but not mentioned in the City's Motion for Summary
Judgment ~ is the fact that the Ethics Commission reinforced its above
order to Griffin on June 10, 1999. This was just 12 days prior to the
Council meeting of June 22, 1999.
Agenda item 14D had to do with an Airport Authority matter and was
described on the Agenda as:"Request by City Council to the Airport
Authority of Washoe County to televise meetings."
At no point in its Motion for Summary Judgment does the City claim that
Griffin directly or indirectly honored such binding order from the
Ethics Commission. In fact, there is no question about Griffin violating
the order given to him by the Ethics Commission. At a later point in the
June 22 meeting, Griffin even publicly admitted that he had committed
such violation! This is documented on official video tape, as are other
incriminating elements pertaining to this matter.
On page 2 of the Motion for Summary Judgment beginning on line 22, we
read: "When Mayor Griffin called item 14D for discussion, there was a
brief discussion of the matter by several council members, including
At the threshold of considering item 14D, Griffin should have disclosed
his contract with the Airport Authority. He did not do this and thereby
flagrantly violated the order given to him by the Ethics Commission on
May 29, 1998, and again on June 10, 1999.
The meeting then continued with Mayor Griffin presiding ~ even though he
was conducting the meeting in violation of a binding order given to him
by the Ethics Commission.
Any public meeting which is disrupted, in effect, by a presiding officer
who disregards the law and/or any order from the Ethics Commission
reveals abominable and unacceptable hypocrisy when that presiding
officer then charges any other person with disruptive behavior.
When Griffin defied the subject order ~ and continued conducting the
meeting as if he had done nothing wrong ~ the Council's consideration of
Item 14D automatically became null and void. Griffin exposed himself and
the City of Reno to all related liabilities for his wrongful conduct and
abuse of public power.
Griffin's call for a Council vote on whether to permit Dehne time for
comment was a departure from the Council's normal procedure. In
violation of the 14th Amendment, Griffin treated Dehne differently than
other persons requesting comment time. The fact of Law is that the Open
Meeting Law, the Reno City Hall Operating Rules, the U.S. Constitution,
and years of precedent and practice forbid Reno City council from voting
on whether or not a citizen can or cannot speak on an Official Agenda
Item. No other citizen was subjected to such procedures. This is a per
se violation of the 14th Amendment and the plaintiff's right to equal
protection of the law.
Page 7 of Reno Council Rules and Regulations specifically demands that
citizens speak on Agenda Items: "Comments relating to a particular
agenda item must be made when that item is heard by the Council." There
is no provision on voting on whether Sam Dehne will be "allowed" to
perform his citizen's duty to speak on issues of public importance.
Even after Griffin's violation was brought to his attention by City
Attorney Lynch (as a result of Dehne's properly informing her), Griffin
refused to immediately admit his error and apologize (as he later
does). Instead, Griffin attempts to conceal the fact that his
wrongdoing is about to be exposed to the "light of day." Griffin called
for a recess ~ while conducting an improper portion of the involved
meeting ~ and then called for the wrongful removal from the council
chamber of Sam Dehne.
As the defendant was abusing his powers during an improper portion of
what started as a proper public meeting, Griffin's call for Dehne's
removal was clearly a case of wrongful removal. Griffin called for
Dehne's removal while he, Griffin, was conducting a meeting in violation
of due process and decorum. Griffin was not justly empowered to force
Dehne's removal when he, Griffin, had blatantly disrupted the meeting's
due process and decorum by defying the Ethics Commission's order.
When deposed on February 11, 2002, City Attorney Lynch was asked: "...do
you consider it part of your job duties and job requirements to be
knowledgeable about the statutes that govern open meetings?" Lynch
answered "yes." [Page 11] Indeed, it would be unreasonable to the point
of suggesting subterfuge for Lynch to ever claim that her job role does
not demand a command of statutes pertaining to the conduct of open
meetings. The Reno City Charter requires her attendance at all public
Council meetings and it is one of her understood functions to oversee
and ensure the legal and legitimate process and observance of law during
such meetings. The official video tape and the facts that will be proven
at trial show that she failed miserably.
In this context, during the Council meeting of June 22, 1999, Lynch knew
~ or should have known ~ the relationship between statutes that govern
open meetings and the significance of orders given to public officials
by the Nevada State Commission on Ethics. It can be reasonably expected
that on said date Lynch was aware of the subject order ~ and that Griffin
violated such order at the threshold of considering Agenda Item 14D.
Further, during the Council meeting of June 22, 1999, Lynch knew ~ or
should have known ~ that, according to statute, "...wrongful exclusion
of any person or persons from a meeting is a misdemeanor." NRS
241.040(3). The knowing participation by other council members in a
meeting where action is taken in violation of Chapter 241 is a
misdemeanor offense. Plaintiff made a record of the fact that Griffin
was participating illegally. He thereby "gave notice" to all other
council members of their own potential illegal conduct.
Lynch has sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of
Nevada and of the United States. On June 22, 1999, she was remiss in
not taking appropriate action when Griffin violated NRS 241.040 and
wrongfully excluded Sam Dehne from a public meeting.
NRS 281.360 provides: Failure by public officer or employee to perform
duty: Penalty. Whenever any duty is enjoined by law upon any public
officer or other person holding any public trust or employment, their
willful neglect to perform such duty, except where otherwise
specifically provided for, shall be a misdemeanor.
Lynch is thereby culpable in the violations committed against Dehne.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND OF PLAINTIFF IS IN ORDER
Sam Dehne, Lieutenant Colonel (Air Force, retired), is not an ordinary person.
He is an American citizen who has devoted the past 7 years to a Crusade to
protect the citizens of Northern Nevada from their government. He was
taught at the United States Air Force Academy that is was his duty to
defend the United States against enemies from both outside the borders
and inside the borders. This is supplemented by the Honor Code that he
was taught at the Air Force Academy ("I will not lie, steal, or cheat,
or tolerate those who do") He spent many years as an Air Force officer
and pilot following out those "orders." He carried his teachings with
him after his retirement, and has attended virtually every government
meeting in the northern Nevada for the last 6 years. He has been a
model citizen who knows the rules under which Public meetings are
supposed to be conducted. He is an on-the-scene student of government.
He understands the U. S. Constitution and defends it whenever and
Dehne has available for the Court more than 75 hours of official
video tapes that prove that he does not disrupt Public meetings. These
tapes show Dehne "lecturing" at public meetings regularly, always
complying with Rules and Decorum.
Dehne, a model citizen, received his "marching orders" from the
Air Force Academy, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court of the United
States. He understands very well the meaning of the Supreme Court's
analysis of the Constitution... and especially the Freedom of Speech
portion of the 1st Amendment. He understands what Chief Justice Brennan
wrote in Times v Sullivan:
"As Americans we have the profound national commitment to the principle
that debate on Public Issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide
open. And that they well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes
unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."
commitment: Webster: a pledge or promise to do something; Rogets
thesaurus: a duty, responsibility, moral obligation
Any reasonable person reviewing the indisputable evidence in
this case (ie. the video tape), must conclude that it is an indisputable
fact that Dehne did not disrupt the Reno City council meeting of 22
June, 1999. It was in fact Griffin who disrupted the regular flow of
the meeting. This is a fact that is so painfully obvious on the
official video tape of the meeting that it is absolutely impossible to
understand why the Defense is even trying to defend the Reno City
council against the wrongful removal of Lt Col Dehne from a Public
Meeting... a crime under our law. What they should be doing is
apologizing profusely and begging forgiveness for their outrageous and
The video tape plainly portrays Dehne quietly and politely
trying to correct an indiscretion by Griffin when he was indignantly
accosted by Griffin's accusatory words. The video tape plainly shows
Griffin blurting; "Could we have someone escort this clown out of this
room... I want this guy out of this room."
The Reno City council's taxpayer-funded attorneys have taken the
facts from the video tape and concocted a scenario that the video tape
plainly shows did not happen. Their truth distortions are made obvious
by a simple viewing of the video tape of the Truth. It is arrogantly
contemptuous for the defendants to attempt to make up facts that are in
direct conflict with what can plainly be seen on the video tape.
The Defendants base their entire Motion on the false premise
that Dehne was disruptive at the meeting, and then they try to
impertinently back up this premise by trying to paint him as a
disruptive force at other government meetings. Notwithstanding that the
1st Amendment of the U. S. Constitution was created for Watchdogs to
provide a check on illegal or bad government, the record plainly
authenticates that Dehne has established himself as a student of local
government. And he prides himself on having "lectured" at virtually
every local government meeting (Reno City council, Reno airport, Sparks
City council, Washoe County commission, and RSCVA, and various other
entities) for the past several years beginning in 1995.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Dehne is well known in the community
as the Watchdog and an authority on local government.
As proof of his stout-hearted adherence to the Supreme Court's evaluation
and conclusions concerning the 1st Amendment and as additional viable
evidence, Plaintiff offers that these 75 hours of official video tape prove
beyond a scintilla of doubt that he is not disruptive at local government
meetings. (These are mostly 3 minute segments of oversight
"lectures" since 1996).
The Defendants plainly demonstrate that they do not understand
the United States Constitution. They do not give a tinker's damn about
the Sacred Oaths they swore to. They cling to the preposterous notion
that because Dehne is critical of Public Officials he should be
They are so audacious as to claim that Dehne is disruptive at
other meetings also. (Lynch Depo, pg 17, ln 2; "There are so many
meetings where Mr. Dehne is disruptive, it is hard to remember which
one.") That he "yells and screams" (Lynch, pg 19, ln 16; "Yelling,
screaming, stamping his feet, refusing to be quiet, refusing to sit
down, refusing to wait to be recognized to speak, yelling from the
audience, coming to the podium and talking before he is recognized to
speak."). Yet they cannot provide one iota of any viable proof of such
spurious accusations. The record plainly shows that Dehne only speaks
with a firm and powerful voice... almost always tempered to fit the
occasion. And they attempt to base a questionable defense on that
artificial and wrongful assumption.
Griffin and the City of Reno have little or no understanding of
the reasoning behind the creation of the 1st Amendment. This was made
obvious during various interrogations under oath. Our founding fathers
created the 1st Amendment for Watchdogs... not for fanny kissers.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DISTORTIONS OF THE TRUTH?
The video tape of Dehne's wrongful removal from a Public
Meeting plainly portrays what happened... the Truth.
However the Defense initiates its vituperation with the
hypothesis of conjured up lies and distortions of the truth...
repeats those lies and distortions over and over... and then tries to
convince the Court that those lies and distortions are the truth.
The Defense accuses Dehne of being "disruptive". This is a
blatant falsehood. The video tape plainly shows Dehne not being
disruptive. He is seen moving from the podium to the area of the City
Attorney, nothing of his conversation with her can be heard. Later,
plaintiff is plainly heard when it is clear defendant Griffin is
attempting to terminate the meeting without affording Dehne his right to
speak on the agenda item he had patiently waited to speak on. Dehne is
not disruptive at government meetings. He tries to "disrupt"
corruption, but he does it within the boundaries of the Law.
Defendants are wrong when they try to perpetrate the myth that
Dehne was disruptive and "yelled and screamed." They then try to base
virtually their entire defense on that fiction. The video tape plainly
shows that Dehne was not disruptive. The video tape plainly shows
Griffin violating the law and Dehne quietly attempting to inform the
Reno City attorney of the problems. The video tape plainly shows that
Dehne attempted to object to Griffin's wrongful actions in a normal tone
of voice. Only when Griffin tried to illegally end the meeting did
Dehne speak with a powerful voice as was his right and duty. And even at
that, the video tape plainly shows that Dehne was talking with his
normal volume of voice.
The Defense's motives are transparently obvious as their
admitted goal is to stifle Sam Dehne's Freedom of Speech. They prove by
their words that they have little understanding of, or respect for, the
United States Constitution.
Defendant Griffin was illegally conducting a discussion on an issue
that he knew he had been prohibited from participating in. Defendants
violated Due Process and Equal Protection when they tried to pick and
choose who they wanted to listen to during Agenda items.
The Defendants' attorneys are intelligent people but they are
transparently deceptive. They must have at least a cursory awareness of
the fact that as Americans we have a moral obligation to monitor our
government. Instead of trying to conjure up ways to admonish Dehne,
they should be thanking their lucky stars that he is willing to dedicate
his life on a Crusade to oversee government. His work ensures that
public issues will always remain public, and not the business of "closed
door" deals or other conduct in violation of open government.
PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST ORAL ARGUMENT
Unless the Court denies defendants' motion for Summary Judgment
in its entirety, Plaintiff's attorneys hereby request that the Court
allow them to meet with the Court in hearing to view the 7 minute video
tape and discuss its ramifications relative to the motion being brought.
See local Rule 78-2.
DATED this 18th day of April, 2002.
LAW OFFICE OF
MARTIN G. CROWLEY
LAW OFFICE OF
JEFFREY A. DICKERSON
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The Story about the $5,000 Ethics Fine - DEHNE vs Avansino