Frederick Goetz successfully protects the right of citizens to verbally criticize the actions of a police officer without being subject to arrest. In the case of Hoyland v. McMenomy, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order of United States District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson denying the officers motion for dismissal on qualified immunity grounds. Hoyland, a decorated U.S. Army veteran, was at his front door some 30 to 40 feet away from officers who were threatening to shoot his wife for not complying with their orders. Hoyland was trying to tell the officers that his wife was handicapped and physically unable to comply with their demands and verbally criticizing the officers for their unreasonably aggressive actions. Almost as soon as Mr. Hoyland came outside and began speaking with the officers they ordered him to go back inside his home. When he did not immediately comply, the officers arrested him for obstruction of legal process. Hoyland later sued the responsible officers for false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment and retaliating against him for criticizing their conduct in violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
The Eighth Circuit rejected the officers arguments that they had immunity for such conduct and held that Hoyland could sue them for violation of his civil rights.
The full opinion is available here