I'd forgotten all about Darrel Rundus till I took a peek at the agenda for tomorrow's Park and Recreation Board meeting, during which the board will go behind closed doors to discuss the 3-year-old federal lawsuit in which the preacher sued the city of Dallas and the State Fair of Texas for violating his First Amendment rights. For those needing a refresher course, we wrote all about this back in October of '06, but the short version is:
For years, Rundus -- who's apparently some kind of marketing genius? -- tried to pass out religious literature inside the fairgrounds during the Fair. But each time he was stopped by Dallas police officers and Fair officials, who said, sure, he could do his thing outside the Fair (like, on the public sidewalks), but not inside -- not unless he rented an exhibit space and stayed put. To which Rundus said: Federal lawsuit! And the thing worked its way through U.S. Magistrate Jeff Kaplan's court for three long years -- until September 16.
At that point, Kaplan had enough and ruled in the city and Fair's favor, as evidenced by the memorandum order and opinion you'll find below. (The brief judgment follows after the jump, as does the City Attorney's Office official position filed with the court last November.) As far as Kaplan's concerned, the city's got nothing to do with setting State Fair policy -- it is, after all, a private entity (since 1886!) that takes control of the fairgrounds for a few weeks each year -- and rules is rules.
Rundus Order and Opinion
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.