The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has detailed the fees now faced by Worcester and Lowell, after they tried to restrict the free speech rights of poor people. The ACLU of Massachusetts successfully challenged the restrictions in both Worcester and Lowell:

Lawyers for Goodwin Procter and the ACLU said they had hoped early discussion with the cities would result in their voluntary withdrawal of the ordinances, which ultimately were found unconstitutional. In addition, they said, decisions by the cities drove up the cost of the litigation.

Our legal director, Matthew Segal, today explained further:

These ordinances were unconstitutional infringements on the First Amendment rights of poor people, and if the cities had agreed to withdraw them before the courts ruled in our favor, then they would owe nothing in fees. More fundamentally, the ACLU depends on fee awards and private donations to fulfill our mission because so much of our public service work is uncompensated. Just in the past month, we have worked to resolve the state's drug lab crisis, won a landmark case limiting immigration detention, worked with police departments on body camera policies, and secured the release of 52 months of street-encounter data from the Boston Police Department. None of that work has been compensated in any way, and it could not have been done without fee awards and the generosity of our donors and cooperating law firms.


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