Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00

Free Speech in KY Challenged by Body Shop Owner

Kentucky body shop owner John Russell claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when Sheriff Deputies would not allow him to put up campaign signs in front of his business, Campbell County Autobody. In response, he filed a federal lawsuit in June against Campbell County officials, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In 2012 Russell of Cold Water gave permission for several candidates running for office to place political signs in front of his body shop for the primary and general elections. According to court documents, Campbell County Deputy Sheriffs removed the signs, because they were within 300 feet of a polling place located at First Baptist Church. The Church is located across a four-lane highway from the auto body shop, which is approximately 150 feet away. Kentucky law prohibits political signs to be placed within 300 feet of a polling place.

The judge ruled in favor of Russell, and Campbell County has agreed not to enforce the 300-foot-rule on private property.

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