Ohio judge protects free speech in political sign ruling

After a nonprofit legal center challenged the constitutionality of a sign ordinance, the Ohio city of Perrysburg decided to stop enforcing it.

Perrysburg’s ordinance limited the display of campaign signs on private property to 60 days prior to an election through seven days after. Pursuant to the ordinance, Charles Pfleghaar, a city council candidate, was ordered to remove his own campaign sign or face a fine of up to $100 per day. The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law filed a motion for temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in federal court on behalf of Pfleghaar, arguing that “Ohioans should remain free to use their private property however they would like,” as long as they avoid harm to others. The center asserted that the sign ordinance violated Pfleghaar’s First Amendment rights.

Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick of the Northern District of Ohio granted Pfleghaar’s motion for preliminary injunction, which the city did not contest. Perrysburg will voluntarily halt enforcement of the ordinance and plans to amend it. 

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