June 19, 2006

Can't You Read the Sign

by PG

File under "We would have felt stupider if we'd lost because we didn't make the argument":

Morrissette was convicted of violating the ordinance prohibiting signs “containing religious, educational or charitable messages or which advertise events for nonprofit organizations” that “exceed eight square feet in area and five feet in height.” Morrissette’s signs were 32 square feet. The county does not place such limitations on other categories of signs. Morrissette’s signs read,
“Welcome to Chesterfield
Where Government is Corrupt
Taxes Are High
and the Schools are Mobile” and
“Ed Barber, Renny Humphrey, Art Warren, Kelly Miller and Lane Ramsey, in their Official Capacity, are Corrupt, Self-Serving Liars. Challenge them to a Polygraph.”

The county argued that the signs were educational and therefore subject to size restrictions. Judge Cleo E. Powell ruled that Morrissette’s signs did not fall in the education category since they expressed his opinions rather than providing factual information.

From the ACLU of Virginia, which regards this as a half-victory because the judge refused to invalidate the entire ordinance as an unconstitutional content-based restriction on speech.

June 19, 2006 10:58 PM | TrackBack
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