CITY BACKS DOWN ON PENALTIES OVER ‘FOR SALE’ SIGNS IN CARS PARKED ON PUBLIC STREETS

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[10/19/16]  A California city caught imposing a content restriction on free speech is now backing away from its ordinance.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed a lawsuit against San Juan Capistrano resident Michael Cefali, said the city will abolish an ordinance that forbids the display of ‘For Sale’ signs in cars parked on public streets.

“The city is making the right move in repealing this law, because the ordinance collides head-on with the Constitution,” said PLF Principal Attorney Larry Salzman.

“The First Amendment forbids government from banning signs or penalizing speech simply because it doesn’t like the content. The government can’t ban a ‘For Sale’ sign while allowing other messages, such as political signs. Some people may not like ‘For Sale’ signs in parked cars, but individuals have a right to communicate truthfully with the public – even when that communication is an advertisement.

“We hope this case will send a message to other cities that continue to enforce unconstitutional sign bans: Repeal them now or risk being served with an embarrassing and expensive lawsuit.”

In a statement released by his lawyers, Cefali said he was pleased with the result.

“Whenever there is a victory for First Amendment freedoms, even if that victory is local and relatively low-profile, everyone’s rights become a little bit more secure. It took a little prod for the city to do the right thing, but after Pacific Legal Foundation helped me file the suit, the city council acted quickly and decisively to correct the problem.”

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