Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kent Man's 'Impeach Bush' Sign Leads To Littering Charge

Man's 'Impeach Bush' Sign Leads To Littering Charge

KENT, Ohio -- A Kent resident who was ticketed last week for putting up an "Impeach Bush" sign on what was considered city land is facing different charges.

The initial charge against Kevin Egler was a violation of an advertising ordinance. That charge was dropped, but he is now being charged with littering.

The offense falls under Kent ordinance 521.08, which in part reads that no person shall place litter on any public property.

But Egler and his lawyer claim that the sign is like any political sign that you would see during election time.

"In this case, all the officer had to do is treat him like they admit they treat mainstream political candidates and just say, 'Hey, remove the sign.' But the fact that you would criminalize this case, I think is an attempt to suppress free speech," said attorney Bob Fitrakis.

Egler has been summoned back to court where he plans to plead not guilty to the littering charge.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

The location where Egler placed the sign is on state right or way property, so there is also the question of whether a Kent ordinance applies to state property.

Kent Law Director James Silver did not return a phonecall seeking comment.