Former Ariz. State Student Files Appeal After Being Convicted for Distributing Copies of Constitution

Former Ariz. State Student Files Appeal After Being Convicted for Distributing Copies of Constitution

A former Arizona State University student has filed an appeal via the Liberty Justice Center after he was convicted of trespassing for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution while on campus.

Tim Tizon was arrested by campus police in March after he refused to follow an order to stop distributing the copies while he was still attending the university. He is appealing to the Maricopa County Circuit Court and is being represented pro bono by the legal organization, the Daily Caller reported.

“If free speech means anything, it means that in a public area at a public university a student should not be arrested for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution,” Reilly Stephens, Liberty Justice Center staff attorney, told the outlet. “It starts being as simple as that.”

The former student set up a table on the North Plaza of the campus, located in Tempe, Ariz., with a logo for the group Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian organization to which he belonged. As he handed out the documents, campus officials told him that his actions were a violation of the university’s “reservation policy” and that he must move to an isolated place designated as a “free speech zone.” When he refused, he was arrested and removed by force.

“Universities are supposed to be the epicenter of the marketplace of ideas,” Tizon said in a statement. “ASU has let me down and every other student too by placing its bureaucracy ahead of our First Amendment rights.”

According to the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, “a free speech zone is an area on a college campus specifically designated for public speech,” Newsmax reported. “They are widely derided by First Amendment advocacy groups as being unconstitutional, and several groups have challenged free speech zone policies in court and won.”

“It is absolutely silly that students have to worry about getting arrested for standing in the wrong patch of grass,” Carter Quill, Young Americans for Liberty’s director of media relations, told the Daily Caller. “Speech codes like this treat students like babies who aren’t capable of hearing a political idea without having a guidance counselor around.

“People go to college to learn, not be coddled; and Tim Tizon deserves some justice for both this unjust arrest and for having to put up with trigger-happy campus administrators who need to learn their place,” Quill added.

Stephens, the attorney, said cases like Tizon’s are increasingly common on the campuses of colleges and universities.

“We’ve seen things like this happen at a lot of schools in a lot of different places in the country, and we think that it’s important to stand up for the fact that our public universities are public and are for the public exchange of ideas; and all our client was trying to do was advocate for those ideas he cares about and advocate for the Constitution,” he told the DC.


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