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article imageMan Fined For Impeach Bush Sign

By Michael Billy     Aug 10, 2007 in Politics
School teacher Kevin Egler, 45, was ticketed by police on July 25th for posting a free-standing sign that read 'Impeach Bush' at a Main street intersection in Kent, Ohio.
Egler is being charged with unlawfully advertising in a public place and he is contesting the allegations in a municipal court.
According to Egler, a police officer approached him and asked, "Why don't you put the signs in your own yard?" Egler responded by stating that, since his tax dollars helped pay for the area, he viewed it as his yard.
He has a point. How does Egler's sign differ from one advertising for a yard sale or a realtor that is having a open house?
Politicians post signs every election cycle asking constituents to vote for them. Why should a sign urging for impeachment be any different?
The case brings to light an important free-speech issue: Do you have the right to post an inoffensive message on a piece of property that you helped pay for?
Egler's lawyer, Bob Fitrakis, believes that political speech should be protected unless there is property damage; graffiti on the side of a building or bridge for example. He believes that this case, in fact, is the first of its kind in Ohio because it does not involve defacing property.
The text of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The question remains: Can forcing a person to remove a sign be seen as 'abridging the freedom of speech'? Only time -- and the pending court case(s) -- will tell.
More about Impeach bush, Fine, Sign
 
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