Eighth Circuit Strikes Down Ordinance Outlawing Signs that Have Consequence of Disturbing Traffic Flow

On August 6, the Eighth Circuit struck down a St. Louis city ordinance that outlaws conduct, including speech, that has the consequence of impeding vehicular traffic. Stahl v City of St. Louis, 10-3761. The decision is seven pages.

A group put up a sign on an overpass over a freeway. The sign said “911 was an inside job.” The police were called and arrested the sign-holders. The city argued a sign like that would distract drivers and make a traffic accident, or a traffic stall, more likely. The Court said the law is too vague and speech cannot be criminalized when it is impossible for the speakers to know in advance whether their actions are illegal. The decision also notes the original call-in to the police complained about an “offensive” sign, which suggests that if the sign had had a blander message, no enforcement officers would have been called into action. Thanks to HowAppealing for the link.

2 comments

  1. Demo Rep · · Reply

    How about the sign —
    EQUAL ballot access laws NOW !!!!

    Have the cops make an arrest.
    Sue the cops and make millions for other Democracy stuff.

  2. Baronscarpia · · Reply

    Richard – perhaps one day we’ll see these signs on the roadside…?

    Individuals’ free speech

    Don’t bother to save

    Entrust it to companies

    Burma Shave

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