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Court revives activist's suit against ex-Arizona Senate president Russell Pearce

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PHOENIX — A federal appeals court panel has revived an immigration activist's lawsuit accusing former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce of illegally barring him from the Senate buildings.

Tuesday's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturns a judge's 2012 ruling dismissing a suit filed by activist Salvador Reza contending he was improperly barred from the Senate buildings. The court said the lower court erred when it found that Pearce did not violate Reza's First Amendment rights when he barred him from the Senate.

Reza was among vocal protesters attending a Feb. 22, 2011 Senate hearing on immigration bills. Police arrested Reza two days later on suspicion of trespassing when he tried to enter the Senate building. He was never formally charged.

The case now returns to the lower court for trial.

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