Bowing to ACLU Legal Challenge, Ohio Town Agrees to Lift Limits on Display of Political Signs

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
February 20, 2001 12:00 am

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ACLU of Ohio
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND, OH–The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today announced the resolution of its legal challenge to a local law which limited the display of political signs eight days prior to an election and allowed citizens to display only one sign per candidate.

The challenge, brought on behalf of Doylestown resident Theresa Casteel, was one of four political sign cases the ACLU took on statewide in the weeks before the November 2000 election.

“Political yard signs are the only form of public political speech most Americans will ever engage in,” said Raymond Vasvari, Legal Director of the Ohio ACLU. “Limits like this bump up against the First Amendment where and when they most count: at home and during an election season.”

Relying on recent cases decided by both the United States Supreme Court and the Ohio Supreme Court, the ACLU argued that the limitations violated the First Amendment right to free speech.

On December 28, 2000, Village of Doylestown officials repealed the ordinance limiting residents to displaying one sign per candidates or issue and only during the period from 18 days before and until five days after an election. That action effectively resolved the case.

Since that time, lawyers for the ACLU and Doylestown have been finalizing the details of the settlement, including the payment of attorney fees to the ACLU for its work in the case.

“The Village deserves credit,” Vasvari said regarding the settlement. “They were represented by outstanding counsel, who recognized the First Amendment problems with the ordinance and gave their clients sound legal advice, which they promptly followed. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way.”

A release on the four Ohio lawsuits is online at http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/n102700.html.

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