ABA Journal


Constitutional Law

‘Nude but not lewd’ airport protester beat indecency rap but is still fighting $1K TSA fine

May 10, 2013, 10:15 pm CDT


I'm curious what they'll specifically accuse him of doing. They wanted to see his body; did stripping interfere with that? Did they find it assault or a threat? And if they're intimidated by seeing a naked body, perhaps they should consider another job.

Thanks for the info: linked here from

By Alden Loveshade on 2013 05 11, 6:10 am CDT

If I was TSA I would drop this. First, they lost fair and square. Second, they keep the story alive by trying to fine this guy.

By Island Attorney on 2013 05 11, 1:23 pm CDT

The fine is clearly retaliation for asserting his constitutional right to defend against criminal charges. Case law demonstrates that increased or additional charges for asserting one's trial rights is retaliation and will result in dismissal. Plus, despite being "administrative" this certainly seems to be "double jeopardy" because it certainly doesn't seem to be a civil fine. If he refuses to pay the fine what are the TSAs remedies...I bet they can cause his arrest...if that is true then it is NOT a civil penalty but a criminal one and that makes it two bites at the apple for the same offense (unless of course the original charge was a state crime, the story is unclear about that)

By Nancy on 2013 05 11, 4:42 pm CDT

The TSA should quietly drop this.

By Yankee on 2013 05 11, 5:13 pm CDT

So the rule provides that one cannot "interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate" TSA screeners.

It seems like stripping down does not fit in with the the first three prohibitions. Don't know about this guy, but if a federal ALJ found that by stripping naked I intimidated federal agents, I would almost consider that a win, and certainly a compliment. That's the kind of adverse final order one might actually want to frame.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 13, 1:05 pm CDT

@5 Good point. The facts as they are described in the article do not appear to support the charge in question.

By Yankee on 2013 05 13, 5:54 pm CDT

Well, if taken outside the context of Constitutional protections, stripping naked in a public place like an airport is something people ought not to do unless their cloths are on fire or other real necessity. And there should be some consequence beyond a tut tut for that. There are many ways to protest.

But only the first of the alternate elements seems anywhere near close. And that's certainly quite debatable. As to intimidation, I am reminded of a similar charge made against a guy here in Colorado, who lived out of his beat up pickup camper in a ski area parking lot or thereabouts, which was under U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction. The ranger who essentially evicted him said his behavior when she was doing this violated some similar rule. Her description and his about what his actual conduct was seemed fairly close, and all I could think was she was in the wrong profession if she had a problem with him in that regard.

There has to be a "reasonable law enforcement person" rule in play when it comes to things as subjective as intimidation and its ilk.

By Walt Fricke on 2013 05 13, 8:24 pm CDT

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