Archive for the 'Marta Man With a Gun' Category

Damages, Injunction Awarded in MARTA Case

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

In GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA, the parties have stipulated that MARTA is the defendant liable for the Privacy Act violation and that GCO member Christopher Raissi’s damages are $1,000. The federal court entered a final judgment today against MARTA and in favor of Raissi for $1,000. The court also ordered MARTA to expunge Raissi’s social security number from its records. Documents in the case may be viewed here.

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Judge Issues Order in MARTA Case

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

A federal district judge in Atlanta has ruled that MARTA had probable cause to stop GCO member Christopher Raissi when Raissi was seen carrying a firearm at a MARTA train station. The court ruled that Raissi presented all the elements of both carrying a concealed weapon and boarding a train with a firearm. The court also ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the state open records act claims, but ruled that some defendants (he could not tell which) were liable for Privacy Act violations. The case will go to trial on the Privacy Act claims to determine who is liable and what the damages and other remedies will be. The documents in the case may be viewed here.

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Final Brief Filed in MARTA Case

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Defendants in GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA and some of its officers have filed their final brief on the merits of the case. The matter is now before federal judge Thomas Thrash, who will rule if either party should win on the merits of the case without a trial. A decision is expected within a few weeks. The documents in the case may be viewed here.

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GCO Files Final MARTA Briefs

Friday, October 16th, 2009

GCO has filed its final briefs on the merits in its federal lawsuit against MARTA over whether it is constitutional for police to stop any person seen carrying a firearm.  MARTA’s final brief is due October 23, 2009.  After that, the judge in the case is expected to rule on several outstanding motions, including determining if the police may demand the social security number of anyone they stop, if a government agency (such as MARTA) may ignore an open records request with impunity, and if police may detain, under force of law, anyone carrying a firearm.  While no timeline is imposed on federal judges for ruling on motions, a decision is expected within a few weeks.  The briefs in this case can be viewed here.

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MARTA Opposes GCO’s Arguments

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

MARTA has filed a brief in opposition to GCO’s motion for summary judgment in GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA for MARTA’s policy of detaining anyone seen carrying a firearm. While MARTA now concedes that GCO member Christopher Raissi was detained when two officers stopped him, disarmed him, and ran a background check on him, they argue that it was not a 4th amendment violation to do so because MARTA is a terrorist target and high crime area. For MARTA’s explanation of why the 4th amendment does not apply when one steps off the Atlanta sidewalk and into the Five Points train station, see the briefs here.

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MARTA Asks Court to Dismiss GCO’s Lawsuit

Friday, September 11th, 2009

MARTA has filed a motion to have GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA dismissed. The case primarily concerns a detention by MARTA Police of GCO member Christopher Raissi, solely because he was carrying a firearm. In its motion, MARTA says that the MARTA system is so dangerous that MARTA police have a duty to stop everyone seen carrying a firearm to make sure they have a GFL. MARTA’s brief does not mention how often a person might reasonably be expected to be stopped while riding the MARTA system all the way from North Springs to the Airport. Perhaps once per train station? MARTA’s brief may be viewed here.

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GCO Asks Court to Reject MARTA’s Firearm Policy

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

GCO has filed a motion in its federal lawsuit against MARTA, seeking, among other things, an injunction against MARTA’s policy of detaining everyone seen carrying a firearm.  In its motion, GCO quotes MARTA officials who testified that MARTA has a “procedure” to detain anyone seen carrying a firearm to check for ID and GFL.  MARTA police stopped GCO member (and GFL holder) Christopher Raissi who carried a holstered handgun in the Avondale train station.  Police seized Raissi’s handgun and did not return it until the detention ended in a non-public area of the station to which they had moved Raissi.  The officers who stopped Raissi admitted that Raissi was not suspected of any criminal activity other than the possibility that Raissi was carrying without a GFL.  They stopped him for the sole purpose of checking to see if he was licensed to carry.  Comparing the facts of this case to a United States Supreme Court opinion that it is unconstitutional to stop a motorist just to see if he has a driver’s license, GCO argues that stopping someone just to see if he has a GFL violates the Fourth Amendment.

GCO’s motion also asks the court to rule that MARTA officials violated the state Open Records Act multiple times.  Raissi sent the chief of the MARTA police a certified letter asking for records related to his detention.  MARTA admits receiving the request and that it failed to respond.  In another request, GCO lawyer John Monroe made an oral request, followed by multiple email followups, to the assistant police chief, asking for MARTA’s policy pertaining to people carrying firearms on MARTA post-HB 89.  The assistant chief admits he received the emails, but denies that an ORA request can be made via email.  He admits he did not respond to the request, primarily because MARTA has a “procedure” for dealing with people carrying firearms but not a “policy.”

The documents in this case may be viewed here.

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MARTA Insists It is Not a “Government Agency”

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

In GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA for, among other things, detaining people seen carrying firearms, MARTA continues to assert that it is not a “state or local government agency” subject to the federal Privacy Act.  As such, MARTA says, it is not required to provide the warning that every other state or local government agency in GA is required to provide before asking a citizen for his or her social security number.  A copy of MARTA’s brief on this subject may be found here.

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MARTA Opposes Summary Judgment

Monday, July 27th, 2009

In GCO’s federal lawsuit against MARTA for violations of the Privacy Act and detaining a member for carrying a firearm, MARTA has opposed GCO’s privacy act motion for summary judgment on the grounds that MARTA is not a “governmental agency” for purposes of the privacy act.  MARTA also has filed its own motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the privacy act claim on the same grounds.  The documents may be viewed here.

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GCO Files Motion for Summary Judgment in MARTA Case

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

In its federal lawsuit against MARTA for detaining people seen carrying firearms and violating the Privacy Act, GCO has filed a motion for summary judgment on the Privacy Act portion of the case.  MARTA officials have admitted that they asked for GCO member Christopher Raissi’s social security number without telling him 1) whether disclosure was mandatory or voluntary, 2) by what statutory or other authority the number was requested, and 3) what uses would be made of it.  MARTA also has produced documents showing that it has stored Raissi’s wrongfully collected SSN in at least four different places within MARTA’s records.  A copy of the brief may be viewed here.

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