The City of Clearwater, Florida has decided to throw one back. We have been following the story of bait shop owners Herb and Lori Quintero in Clearwater, Florida who challenged a fine for having a fish mural painted on the outside of their business — later covered up by a copy of the first amendment. The controversy was a combination of remarkably bad lawyering and judgment by the city. It has now concluded after two adverse rulings against the city and a $55,000 settlement paid to the Quinteros.
Two federal judges ruled against the city and its unconstitutional ordinance. It is remarkable that the city not only drafted such a poor law but spent tens of thousands of dollars pursuing such an unpromising case. It not only gave the city bad press but used limited city funds to fight against free speech.
The Quinteros will now be paid back the $700 in fines and the ACLU will get its well-earned attorneys fees.
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