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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ind. Law - "KKK threatens to sue Martinsville after littering citation"

From the Martinsville Reporter-Times:

MARTINSVILLE— The chief counsel of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is threatening to sue Martinsville after the Martinsville Police Department issued a citation to one of its publication's distributors.

According to a police report, the city police department cited Thomas Buhls for littering after he dropped off copies of The Crusader, the Knights’ publication, to businesses near downtown Martinsville at the end of May. * * *

In a letter to Martinsville Police Department Chief Jon Davis, city attorney Roger Coffin and city prosecutor Karey Banfield, Knights chief counsel Jason Robb wrote that the Knights will file a federal lawsuit against the city if Buhls’ citation charge was not dropped.

In the letter dated June 10, Robb wrote that the charge was a clear violation of Buhls’ First Amendment rights.

He wrote that the department stopped Buhls illegally and that, apparently, the city of Martinsville was not aware that passing out literature is protected under the First Amendment. Robb said the incident was clearly in violation of state and federal laws.

“I will not have this city trample over individual’s rights just because it doesn’t like the content of the literature and prevent my client to exercise a well-protected right,” he wrote.

However, Davis said the city has no plans to drop the citation.

It’s already been issued,” he said Tuesday. “We’re not going to dismiss it.”

Here is a Sept. 13, 2009 ILB entry quoting a story from the LCJ that began:
A federal judge has rejected The Courier-Journal's effort to block enforcement of a Louisville anti-litter ordinance the newspaper says violates constitutional protections of free speech and the press.

In an opinion issued Friday, Judge Charles R. Simpson III concluded that "there is little likelihood that the Courier will succeed on the merits of its claims" in a lawsuit the newspaper filed after the Metro Council passed the ordinance in June.

The ordinance, which took effect in August, requires unsolicited print materials to be delivered to a specific place, like a porch or mailbox, rather than tossed on a lawn or driveway.

The ordinance affects anyone delivering fliers or other printed materials, but it was prompted by Courier-Journal advertising supplements. At the time the ordinance was adopted, the newspaper was delivering some 340,000 copies of the supplements weekly.

The ordinance does not apply to the newspaper itself, since it is delivered to subscribers.

In legal documents, the city described the newspaper’s delivery of the ad supplements as a “fly-and-fling method of distribution, accomplished under cover of darkness.

I think there is Indiana case law on advertising inserts or free papers, but can't recall the term used.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 16, 2011 04:26 PM
Posted to Indiana Law