- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An Ohio lawyer is appealing a contempt of court charge after she was taken into custody last week for refusing to take off a Black Lives Matter button.

Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich sentenced attorney Andrea Burton to five days in jail Friday after she refused orders to remove the button, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

A reporter with the Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown saw Ms. Burton handcuffed and taken to jail.

She has been released on a stay while her appeal is underway, but she will have to serve the five days in jail if she loses. In the meantime, she’s promised not to wear the button in court, The Associated Press reported.

Judge Milich said his ruling was based on Supreme Court case law and had nothing to do with his personal opinions.

“A judge doesn’t support either side,” he told CBS News. “A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law.”

“There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles and having a pin that’s on a political issue,” he added.

The NAACP’s Youngstown branch said its legal counsel is monitoring the case closely.

“We will do all that the NAACP Youngstown can do to ensure that Attorney Burton’s Constitutional rights are not being violated,” Youngstown NAACP President George Freeman Jr. said in a statement Friday.

Ms. Burton’s mother, who worked as a bailiff for Judge Milich’s colleague Judge Elizabeth Kobly, said she was stunned by the decision, the Vindicator reported.

“I’m so flabbergasted,” Dawn Burton said. “In a place where justice is supposed to be doled out, you don’t have freedom of speech? It’s a bit over the line. You don’t have to agree with it. It’s a statement.”

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