In March 2013, Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and combat veteran of the Iraq War who had been discharged from the Army after he came out as gay on the Rachel Maddow Show, was charged with “failure to obey a lawful order,” when he refused to unchain himself from the White House fence during a protest of the Army’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which issued dishonorable discharges to LGBT servicemembers. As a condition of his pretrial release, Choi was ordered to “stay away from the complaining witness 1600 block of Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC [sic]. Including adjacent sidewalks.”
In our view, that order violated both the First Amendment and the relevant statute, which authorizes the Superior Court to impose as a condition of pretrial release only the “[l]east restrictive . . . conditions, that the judicial officer determines will reasonably assure . . . the safety of any other person and the community.” We agreed to represent Mr. Choi in appealing that condition of release, but the criminal charge against Mr. Choi was soon dismissed, thereby mooting our appeal.