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Court voids $289K judgment for protesters

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court has voided a nearly $300,000 judgment for demonstrators who were cited for holding signs during massive protests at the state Capitol over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining restrictions in 2011.

Six protesters filed a lawsuit alleging regulations prohibiting displaying a sign without a permit in areas of the Capitol violated clearly established free speech rights. A Madison judge awarded the protesters $289,812.

The District 4 Court of Appeals invalidated the judgment on Thursday. The court found that it wasn’t clearly established at the time of the protests that the state’s regulations weren’t valid restrictions on free speech.

The protesters’ attorney, Jeff Scott Olson, said he was disappointed but didn’t plan to ask the state Supreme Court to take the case, noting conservative justices control that court.

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