The ACLU of Kansas successfully defended Matthew Donegan, a Roeland Park homeowner, in a municipal court case in which he was charged with displaying more than three political signs in his yard in violation of the City’s sign ordinance.
In the run-up to the general election, Mr. Donegan displayed more than a dozen signs in his yard in support of Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign. In late October, Mr. Donegan received by certified mail a ticket from the City citing him for violating City ordinance 16-910(b) by displaying more than three “temporary signs.” He faced a fine of up to $500.00.
Trial was set for Wednesday, February 22, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in Roeland Park Municipal Court. On February 2, 2017, the ACLU filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the City’s limit of three signs violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and that it violates a Kansas statute that prohibits local governments from restricting the number of political signs that a person can display within forty-five days of an election. On the afternoon before trial, the City Prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case against Mr. Donegan, agreeing that the City could not lawfully restrict the number of political signs a resident displays at least within forty-five days of an election.