ACLU Hearing in “Fish Mural” Case to Be Held in
Tampa on Wednesday, March 4 at 9:30 a.m.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 3, 2009
Brandon Hensler, Director of Communications, (786) 363-2737 or [email protected]
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida will be giving oral arguments at an initial hearing in the highly publicized case involving The Complete Angler, a Clearwater bait & tackle store that has been fined by the city for displaying art.
WHAT: Federal Hearing in “Fish Mural” Case
WHERE: Courtroom 11A, U. S. Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa
WHEN: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
WHO: Maria Kayanan, ACLU-FL Associate Legal Director
James K. Green, Esq., ACLU Cooperating Counsel
Bruce Howie, Esq., ACLU Cooperating Counsel
The City of Clearwater first issued notices of code violations to the bait shop owners in March of 2008, claiming that a mural of game fish and marine life that the Quinteros commissioned a local artist to paint on the exterior wall of their bait shop is not “art work,” which is exempt from permitting under the City’s code. The city claims that the mural is advertising “signage” for the business, although no text appears on the artwork.
After paying $690.00 in fines to the city in January of 2009, the Quinteros hung a banner over the mural as an act of political protest,. The banner proudly displays the text of the First Amendment above the statement: “THE SUPREME COURT REQUIRES THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE SUBSTANTIAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE INTERFERENCE WITH THE RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH WHERE IT ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE THE CONTENT OF THE SPEECH.”
The city again threatened the Quinteros ordering them to remove both the banner and the mural by Feb. 27, 2009, further violating their First Amendment rights.
View a PDF of the order for the hearing here: http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/AnglerHearing.pdf
Photos of the mural and free speech banner can be viewed here.
The original news release can be read here.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our Web site at: www.aclufl.org.