Friday, December 21, 2012

TRO Vindicates Woman's Display of Offensive Holiday Decorations

The Louisiana ACLU announced yesterday that it has obtained a temporary restraining order on behalf of a Denham Springs (LA) woman in an unusual dispute over holiday light displays. The complaint (full text) in Childs v. City of Denham Springs, (MD LA, filed 12/20/2012), recounts that as part of an ongoing disagreement with her neighbors, plaintiff Sarah Childs installed on her roof "a string of holiday lights in the shape of a human hand with an extended middle finger."  After neighbors complained, police told Childs to remove the lights, and initially she did. Subsequently she put the display back up, this time featuring two hands with extended middle fingers. Police then issued Childs various summonses for other items about which her neighbors complained such as obstructing traffic, disturbing the peace and assault, and eventually police ordered Childs to remove the second display.  After doing so, she sued claiming free speech, due process and other violations. (Links to filings in the case.) AP reports on the issuance of the TRO.

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