US

City: Quarter-toting 'Robin Hooders' harassed meter-readers, should have to back off

  • In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014, one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean puts money in expired meters ahead of parking enforcement officers on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk  parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment.  (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014, one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean puts money in expired meters ahead of parking enforcement officers on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014 one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean stares at a parking enforcement officer on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk  parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment.  (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014 one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean stares at a parking enforcement officer on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014 one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean puts money in expired meters ahead of parking enforcement officers on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk  parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment.  (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    In this photo taken Wednesday Nov. 19, 2014 one of many self-proclaimed “Robin Hooders” Garret Ean puts money in expired meters ahead of parking enforcement officers on Main St. in Keene, N.H. A merry band of Keene activists stalk parking enforcement officers, pumping quarters into expired meters before the officers write tickets. But city officials say their practice of taunting and videotaping the officers interferes with their work and stresses them out. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between constitutionally-protected free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)  (The Associated Press)

The antics of a group of self-styled Robin Hoods has a New Hampshire town pressing the state Supreme Court to force them to back off.

Officials in Keene say the merry band has gone beyond pumping quarters into expired parking meters and sometimes harasses the parking enforcement officers. They've asked the courts to force the activists to keep their distance from the civil servants they say are just trying to do their jobs.

But the first round went to the protesters after a lower court ruled their actions amount to protected political expression that can't be restricted.

Lawyers for Keene argue that a buffer zone of 15-feet around their parking enforcement officers would not infringe on the free speech rights of the Robin Hooders. The justices have not indicated when they will rule.