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Commonwealth's Attorney

Posted on: March 26, 2018

Federal Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Plowman in Citizen-Initiated Suit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 26, 2018

Contact: Heather F. Williamson
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA  20176-2809
(703) 777-0242

Federal Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Plowman in Citizen-Initiated Suit

On Monday, March 19, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the ruling from a January 2017 trial in favor of Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman.  Citizen plaintiff, Brian Davison, claimed Plowman violated his First Amendment rights to free speech by blocking Davison from continuing to comment the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Facebook Page.

The District Court described Davison’s comments as off topic and found that he was "attempting to hijack the discussion" for his own end.  The Court disagreed with Davison's claims and found in favor of Plowman on five separate legal foundations.  In reviewing the ruling from the Eastern District of Virginia, the Court of Appeals found "no reversible error."

"I'm pleased that after 18 months, it appears this litigation has finally concluded.  Two Federal Courts have now determined our actions were proper.”  Plowman stated.  "The County adopted reasonable rules for any member of the public who wishes to post comments and Mr. Davison didn't believe those rules should apply to him," continued Plowman.

The ruling from the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia is a published opinion and can be found at:  Davison v. Plowman, 247 F. Supp. 3d 767 (E.D. Va. 2017).  Attached are the rulings from the two courts.

Davison has filed a Petition for Rehearing.

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