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Free Speech Upheld by Federal Court Injunction

A US District Court judge’s ruling on protected speech means that state and local cops for now must stop giving beggars the bum’s rush from Illinois curbsides. Robert Gettleman sided with two men who say that that cops in Downers Grove unfairly target them when they are exercising their Constitutional rights. He issued an order for a preliminary injunction that affects State Police and those in DuPage County as part of a suit filed in August and sponsored in part by the American Civil Liberties Union that challenges provisions in the state’s Vehicle Code.

Christopher Simmons and Michael Durniak claim that because activities such as canvassing and petitioning are permitted, they are being singled out. In a 15-page brief, the men say a rule that makes soliciting a misdemeanor offense violates their freedom of speech in what they deem the state’s ‘traditional public forum’. Sponsors, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, say the case is among many nationwide that have come in the wake of a 2015 ruling in the US Supreme Court that set limits on the content that municipalities can prohibit in roadside signage.