Judge rules law on campaign signs is unconstitutional
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, August 6, 2008
By Paul Edward ParkerJournal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE — A federal judge has struck down a state law that allowed police chiefs to remove political campaign signs from the side of public roadways at their discretion.
U.S. District Judge William E. Smith ruled that the law unconstitutionally infringed on the freedom of speech by letting police chiefs decide who can post signs, but not listing criteria chiefs should use in making that decision.
Rodney D. Driver, whom Smith described as a perennial candidate for Congress, filed suit after Richmond Police Chief Raymond A. Driscoll removed campaign signs that Driver had placed on private property across the street from the entrance to the Washington County Fair in 2006.
“I thought it outrageous that a police chief could decide who may or may not post political signs, and then tear down those he disapproved of,” Driver said yesterday in a statement issued by the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Driver in court.