Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sittin On The "Group W" Bench

That's not Suvo in the photo..he is not a reenactor and won't wear wool in JulyIt's 2 pm in the St. Johns County Florida courthouse. I am there as a defendant with my attorney Tom Cushman .At the table to the right is the county prosecutor, Carlos Mendoza. We are waiting for Judge Charles Tinlin to arrive. This is seriously cutting into my afternoon nap time.I can see that the open folder on the prosecutor's desk has 8'x 10' photos of American flags and a photo of a sign offering them for sale*. These were my flags and I made that sign and put it up in the Plaza de la Constitucion on Memorial day last year, 15 months ago. I am charged with the crime of 'offering for sale' on public property (the Plaza), U.S. flags. This was a demonstration of what I felt were clear first amendment rights. You'd think ,so wouldn't you. It landed me in jail.............................................In reality, I gave away the 11"x 14" flags ( referred to as flag "replicas" by city attorney Ron Brown) since the signs were indicative of my right to sell as the courts have previously ruled that a national flag is "protected speech"... and protected items may be sold to the public on public property without permit .RILEYv.NATIONAL FEDERATION OF BLIND ,487 U.S. 781 (1988) ...........Understand, that I'm not here as a flag enthusiast or super patriot.I was simply reacting to the draconian and outrageous conduct of the City of St. Augustine, arresting artists for exercising their free speech rights. This was a demonstration. .....................The upshot is that I'm not prepared with the time or resources to take this battle to higher courts......I would win this ,but as I told the judge......I am in the art business not the flag business...................The judge agreed to drop the two charges (also another for offering history, religion and philosophy books for sale) if Iagreed not to sell U.S. flags in the Plaza. You can, my neighbor can, but I cannot. ........Ok, I took the deal and was home in time to take my nap. If all the world is a stage, we are all in some kinda comedic saga that continues on and on....................... see link here Suvo * "Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-tencolour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and sat down."Alice's Restaurant By Arlo Guthrie


  1. Great! It is clear that the city of Saint Augustine is creating a bad flea market atmosphere to spite the artists who won in Federal Court. So, no American Flag sales, but I can get cheap sunglasses and fake designer purses.

  2. Can you imagine what bufoons we look like to other cities?