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Cases against Keene 'Robin Hooders' dismissed by judge

KEENE — Both civil cases filed by the city against six citizens who call themselves "Robin Hood and his Merry Men" have been dismissed by Cheshire County Superior Court judge John Kissinger.

The city filed a lawsuit May 2 against the six who are part of a group who dubbed themselves "Robin Hooders," associated with the Free Keene group and who patrol downtown armed with video cameras and pockets full of change to fill expired parking meters before city parking enforcement officers can issue tickets.

The city had asked the court to prohibit residents Kate Ager, Ian Bernard (also known as Ian Freeman), James Cleaveland, Graham Colson, Garrett Ean and Peter Eyre from coming within 50 feet of the city's three parking enforcement officers "during the performance of their employment duties for the city," according to the lawsuit

In September, the city filed a second civil suit against the group seeking monetary damages, which at the time members of the Robin Hood group said was affirmation the city was suing the group to protect its parking ticket revenue.

In his Dec. 3 decisions, Kissinger granted the group's motions to dismiss based on their argument that it was within their constitutional right to free speech.

"The respondents' speech is given special protection because it is at a public place on a matter of public concern," Kissinger wrote in his order.

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