Collin Co. JP, others sued over practice of locking courtroom doors

By The SE Texas Record | Jul 22, 2014

A Collin County man is suing over claims he was denied access to a courtroom.

Norman J. Hoppenstein filed a lawsuit July 14 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Justice of the Peace Chuck Ruckel, Bailiff Tim Walker and Constable Sammy Knapp, citing a denial of the plaintiff's First Amendment rights. 

According to the complaint, Hoppenstein was told to wait in a room for his case to be heard when he arrived at the Justice of the Peace Court on Feb. 13. Hoppenstein says when he objected, Deputy Walker denied him his constitutional right to access.

The complaint states it is a practice of Judge Ruckel's court to lock the doors during proceedings.

The defendants are accused of first amendment violation, Texas constitutional violation - open courts and Texas constitutional violation - liberty, speech and assembly.

Hoppenstein is seeking an injunction stopping the defendants from preventing citizens access to the courtroom while court is in session.

He is being represented by appearing pro se and with attorney Amos S. Waranch in Dallas.

Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas Case No. 4:14-cv-00467-RC-ALM

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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