Property Owner Gets Jail Time over Yard Art

First Amendment Versus Ballwin City Hall

Dennis Norman

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This morning I saw an article on STL Today about a retired art teacher that was sentenced to 20 days in jail after he refused to make changes to art he has displayed in his front yard that “court and city officials have deemed dangerous.”

According to the article, Lewis Greenberg was convicted in October in St. Louis County court of two counts of city ordinance violations – littering and storing hazardous materials.  The judge told Greenberg to clean it up or face a penalty.  Well, I gotta give it to this guy for standing up for what he believes in as apparently yesterday he showed up in court and told the judge “he had no plans to comply.” This prompted Judge Lawrence Permuter to sentence Greenberg to 20 days in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

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