- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 19, 2016

A New Jersey homeowner has won his fight to fly his Donald Trump flags proudly outside his home after a judge dismissed charges against him Wednesday.

Joseph Hornick, who describes himself on Facebook as a “loyal fan” of Mr. Trump, was ticketed in March for violating a West Long Branch ordinance that restricts the display of political signs until 30 days before an election. New Jersey’s primary is June 7, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Hornick, a former firefighter, faced fines of up to $2,000 or 90 days in jail, but he said nothing would stop him from flying his flags in support of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee

“Let the flags fly. Let ‘em fly,” he said, NJ.com reported. “You take my freedom away, I’d rather sit in jail, bottom line.”

The town considered the flags supporting Mr. Trump the same as political lawn signs, but Mr. Hornick’s attorney, Eric Sherman, argued the ordinance was too vague on whether it applied to flags.

Judge Louis Garippo Jr. agreed, calling the law “somewhat vague.”

“This matter is dismissed. I’ve looked at the ordinance as well and I agree with counsel it’s somewhat vague as to whether the flag applies or not,” the judge said Wednesday. “So in the interest of justice, this is dismissed.”

Mr. Sherman said the borough council is now working to draft a new ordinance that will address the issue of the clutter of political signs around election time, while keeping residents’ free speech rights intact, NJ.com reported.

“That’s really what’s important here — that the First Amendment protects their right to post their signs. And especially in a presidential year, we know that there will be a lot of folks who will be expressing their view points,” said Jeanne LoCicero, deputy legal director of the ACLU-NJ. “We hope that New Jerseyans around the state know that they can do this and if any other towns are out there with these kinds of ordinances, we hope that they will reconsider them, and we’re prepared to assist anyone who has these problems.”

Mr. Hornick said he’ll continue flying his flags. He reportedly flies two Trump flags day and night and lights them up when it gets dark. They’ve been ripped down five times since he put them up in March.

“Let them come, let them rip those flags down because I have a warehouse on alert, and I’ll put up a flag every time they tear one down,” he told a local NBC News affiliate.


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