Winchester, IN – Representing a Winchester resident who has been ordered to remove a yard sign critical of the city’s mayor, the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit today challenging Randolph County’s ordinance prohibiting political and issue-oriented yard signs. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, asserts that the ordinance and its enforcement violate the First Amendment to the Constitution.
“The First Amendment protects all Americans’ right to express their views – whether it’s by putting up a yard sign, distributing a flyer, or walking in a march,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director. “Randolph County leaders don’t have to like or agree with our client’s views, but they can’t stop her from expressing them. The ACLU of Indiana will continue to defend the First Amendment rights of all Hoosiers – whenever and wherever they are threatened.”
Winchester resident Betty Ashley is adamantly opposed to policies advanced by the city’s mayor, Shon Byrum, and has displayed a sign on her property that reads “Shon Byrum is Not My Mayor.” The Executive Director of the Randolph County Area Planning Commission ordered Ashley to remove the sign, citing the county’s sign ordinance, which prohibits all signs in residential districts except for those that pertain to one of five specified “activities.” Political and issue-oriented signage does not pertain to any of these activities, and is therefore completely prohibited in Randolph County.
The ACLU of Indiana’s lawsuit asserts that this restriction is a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and must be enjoined.