Local man to testify against the U.S. Postal Service | SummitDaily.com

Local man to testify against the U.S. Postal Service

FRISCO – Several months after being told he was not allowed to collect signatures for an anti-golf course petition, Doug Malkan is testifying against the U.S. Postal Service in a Washington, D.C., court in a case of national importance.

Malkan and Green Party county commissioner candidate Justin McCarthy were soliciting signatures in front of the Frisco Post Office July 19 when Frisco Police notified them they were breaking the law, Malkan said.

According to federal regulations, soliciting signatures on petitions, polls or surveys is prohibited on U.S. Postal Service property.

Malkan said he was angered by the ban because he believes it is a violation of the First Amendment, so he began researching it on the Internet. There, he learned of the case Initiative and Referendum Institute vs. the U.S. Postal Service.

In June 1998, the U.S. Postal Service banned petitioning at post offices nationwide, Malkan said. Two years later, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Postal Service, representing a number of civil rights groups. The Initiative and Referendum Institute is the primary plaintiff.

According to Malkan, the plaintiffs charge that the government’s banning of petitioning at post offices is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment.

But the Web site did not provide information regarding the status of the case, and Malkan said he called the ACLU to inquire about it. Upon learning Malkan’s story, ACLU attorneys asked if he would be willing to testify in court for the case, Malkan said.

Malkan will be cross-examined by attorneys for the U.S. Postal Service in a deposition Thursday in Washington, D.C., said David Klein, attorney for the plaintiff.

“It is a routine part of any civil trial,” Klein said. “In order to avoid the risk of surprise, the parties are given an opportunity to examine the witnesses for the other side and learn what they know. It’s not justice if someone wins because they surprised the other side with information.”

The two-week trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C.

Klein said the plaintiff attorneys intend to use Malkan as a witness.

“I can’t say if the other side or the judge will object,” Klein said. “But we intend to put him on (the witness stand).”

Malkan said he is pleased to be a part of the case.

“I’m happy to testify for them,” he said. “I feel that banning petitioning at the post office is wrong. It’s a violation of the First Amendment, and I think it’s fantastic that the ACLU is taking the U.S. Government to court over this.”

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com

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