Atty. Jim Ostrowski- Political Lawn Sign Battle

Sunday, February 11th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

A lot of talk now about something else that happened this past week in and we're gonna completely change gears for this one in the town of Boston. There was a case this week involving political lawn signs. Let's bring in attorney James Ostrosky he represented some of the people there who were involved Jim thanks for joining us ledger here. So I bought a start with the background of what what was alleged in this case. What would these defendants that you represented charged with. And how did ultimately end up being dismissed. Well there was the kind of a feud between the towns or in the Al board. And by my quiet. Sided with the dog clerk in and put up. Signs that say I support the town clerk. So. They then got notices. Some. 40. Violated the sound allegedly violating on an inordinate. What is the town sign ordinance what did it say say they could do and couldn't do. What was alleged what was the the reported suppose a violation. Like a lot of these ordinances as kind of complicated but basically. It explicitly says that you need a permit for political side and they charges before it. Even just alongside if I wanna say some board jokes about that. Elect Joseph I'm gonna get a permit for that in the town of Boston. Yeah. I'm not saying they're the only Calvin has that sort of pretty unusual and generally speaking. People put signs up all over the place that. You know they'll they'll give a second thought in fact. In the phone there were a lot of strong side and and repealed to that effect signs. At the same time another of those people were bothered so be it in the motion to dismiss the move in the local look down court. We alleged that the ordinance is unconstitutional. Because this is discriminated against. For political speech. And also we let selective enforcement. All right. It sounds like the last one was the one that won the day or where there are some free speech issues here that that in some ways might even be precedent setting. Well look the the judge showed the judge's order was was briefed. But I I've read those adopting are. All aspects of our motion that that we have read and though. We realized that the ordinance was unconstitutional and that there was selective. Enforcement of the ordinance so the way I read the order. The judge agreed with the sort of an event does that charges that are our drought we do have a federal it's going. As well which has been reached. The summary judgment or trial stage where we're alleging basically the same allegation itself for technical reasons. We couldn't really complain about the ongoing prosecution. Based on the jurisdictional. Case law all of but everything else has been there at the request for an injunction. Request for a declaratory judgment and in the future prosecutions. That all of the issue of the federal. He switches. Which is bill. And then the one that got dismissed what what was the venue was this. Just Boston town court it was a state supreme. Does yup design inordinate. Would be brought in was in the out of Boston court and that. Judge Carol Lee is Rocco. And she issued the decision. Dismissing the church is. February. Here's why I asked I doubted and maybe I'm wrong I am correct me here. I doubt if a ruling from a town justice. Can necessarily be as. As big of a precedent setter. As something that court come out of the federal case what are you arguing in the federal case and what are the broader implications for precedent there. Willow well lawn signs but let's they are successful. We'll lawn signs suddenly not have restrictions on them because of free speech grounds is that is at the end game here. Yeah we'd certainly wanna get a ruling from the judge that the appropriate time with Romo finishing. Wolf it was with discovery. And hopefully get an order. An injunction and declaratory judgment which could then be uses a guide for other. Other jurisdictions. Around the state the for technical reason that our justice. Somewhat limited. Issued an injunction that are generally applicable. Now I I don't work in this field obviously as much as you do I'm I'm just mr. observer here. But it really surprises me that that free speech isn't kind of an automatic thing when it comes to lawn signs. Is. Is the case a slam dunk for you is this and obviously a principle that you can say it looked on its face it's right there. Or or do you think that there's going to be some some push back in summer there. Well you know in there in our common law of this film that we inherited from the the English. There's not necessarily the case Lorena and everything so. You have to be guided by general principles report fortunately for our. There wasn't really good. Supreme Court case signed by Clarence Thomas in 2015. Which is before the incident that there for all the parties are charged really with. Knowledge of that he terms of a liability for federal. Constitutional violation though. We we we do have a very south stream court case. I'll behind the. So in that regard you're not plowing new ground. Well of every kid who's a little different and again these these ordinances that are often written a very complicated way. So of this would be. A decision that was. Obviously. Means that any similar ordinance would see would be there but that's what lawyers argued about was are the cases similar we picked it as civil. And I think you're the one involved in case last year in Hamburg. Involving offense size sign about the same effect towards you is or any of the similar principles work here. I'll. I'm not sure that the that the exactly. Similar but I I certainly believe that that I do believe that that Orton is also constitutional. But the case was resolved before we got. Into his ruling on the matter. I'd say gimme gimme a a now what what happens next. Well we're we're we're litigated that the federal case and they'll probably be boat and the most important discovery just vulnerable side. And possibly at the trial. And reliability of Gordon is. Hula who was the opposing side here does does the town of Boston. Have to defend itself. I've yet they they have a loss for whom. Represented them if it. In both the one that's now been dismissed but obviously that the federal proceeding well. Yeah it did the local. The local ordinance cases handled by those some prosecutors. I don't wanna put in the position of of speaking for your opponent but can you at least summarize the argument. Are they saying that. We need to protect the sanctity of our our zoning. Of well I think that was a pretty good summary of the argument that the sound while you're there. They. Some regulatory. Structure and by the now but. Evidently. And obviously you come at it from a a point of view of your own. But but give me a prediction how do you see this playing out. I know am I gonna say well gee Dave I'm out to lose but do you do you picture a compromise in the middle do you picture total victory talk to me about. The path forward what do you see happening. Well you know I hit specify a you know in this particular case but. I do a lot of retaliation if they do and so we would conduct the that typically vote is the level. What you really have to prepare but it is so that it would those you're rated regular role and it was a Supreme Court case behind that. And I think the with the fact that probably and quite. You know we we we we are obviously than bother a process. All right Jim interesting stuff plenty to chat about it this morning that's attorney Jim Ostrosky fresh off a victory in Boston town court. And getting a case dismissed it alleged basically that some lawn signs in that town were improper and has been taken down he argued that it was. The selective prosecution. Oh and by the way First Amendment issues which are coming up in a federal court case.