Federal Judge Says Angry Sign On House Protected Speech

A federal judge says a local sign ordinance can't limit the sign that a North Carolina man painted on his home out of anger at town leaders.

Multiple media organizations reported Wednesday that David Bowden can keep the crude message painted on the front of his Cary home in large, orange letters.

Federal Judge Louise Flanagan ruled that enforcing Cary's sign ordinance would violate Bowden's free-speech rights.

Bowden had the sign painted on the front of his home last year after it was damaged by runoff that he blames on town road construction.

The town's attorney argued that the sign expressing Bowden's view of being "Screwed by the town of Cary" violated parts of the ordinance concerning aesthetics and traffic safety.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Back Location: Winterville on Dec 9, 2010 at 03:48 PM
    OSOC, My grandpa used to call it 'jibberish'. Hum, Yea, it fits.
  • by REM Location: ENC on Dec 9, 2010 at 01:54 PM
    "You cant say you wldnt be pissed off if you walked out your front door and one day there was a hill built with a road on it." Yeah, I would be pissed off that I made such a stupid decision when purchasing my home haha!
  • by REM Location: ENC on Dec 9, 2010 at 01:50 PM
    @... "I am assuming that flooding was not an issue in his home before the road project. And just because it rains two inches does not mean there will be two inches of rain standing on the ground." -- We aren't that stupid, you don't have to explain how rain works. You cannot, in any way shape or form, justify how a ground level design is smart. From the looks of the picture, it was already on a downward slope [look at the trees in the background]... Unless the road that they built up the grade by about 20 ft (which I highly doubt). And even then, as I said before: It's a stupid design. End of story.
  • by REM Location: ECN on Dec 9, 2010 at 01:46 PM
    @ke: If you go back and read my original post, I made mention that the town probably did create an un-necessary hassle for him; HOWEVER, in no way is it EVER smart to build your house on ground level. The only two exceptions to the rule are are if 1) You live in a desert where it never rains or 2) you live on the moon. Houses on ground level are an idiotic design, and I stand by that. I don't care if any number of people have lived in one without ever getting flooded, it's still a stupid idea. It's kinda like going to a hockey game and sitting floor level without the protective glass in front of you.
  • by ... on Dec 9, 2010 at 11:02 AM
    You all are missing the point. Let me preface by saying I lived in a house on a slab for 24 years, and never got flooded once. The town or whomever was responsible for construction of the road by this man's home built up the land that the road went on, hence the run-off from storms now flows towards this gentleman's home. I am assuming that flooding was not an issue in his home before the road project. And just because it rains two inches does not mean there will be two inches of rain standing on the ground. The vast majority of it gets either absorbed into the ground, or runs off into tributaries. Except for in the case of impermeable surfaces such as roads, where it runs off the sides of the road since pavement cannot absorb water.
  • by Native Location: Grantsboro on Dec 9, 2010 at 07:43 AM
    I cannot believe a Federal Judge actually stood up for free speech. Absolutely can't believe it. Way to go Judge! The house is built on a slab, which is very common around Craven County now. I would never own a house built on a slab! Like one guy said, your just a few inches above the ground and a semi large storm can flood you. To the other person who couldn't figure out the road. Remember the house is built at ground level and the road was built-up, higher then the existing ground level and higher then the level of the house (at ground level) not the top of the house. Ride through Grantsboro and look at the new Hess store they are building. It is literally three or four feet higher than the parking lot at the Burger King right beside it. That id going to cause some major flooding issues for Burger King. Go Judge.
  • by ke Location: gville on Dec 9, 2010 at 07:03 AM
    REM, there are hundreds of homes built every day on concret slabs, which is on ground level, that doesnt mean that these homes are asking to be flooded. You cant say you wldnt be pissed off if you walked out your front door and one day there was a hill built with a road on it.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Dec 9, 2010 at 05:47 AM
    Back....did you figure out what Data dude even said? I think the house is his....otherwise....he has no clue what time it is on venus at ebb tide....now thats data for ya right dere...
  • by Back Location: Gvlle on Dec 9, 2010 at 04:36 AM
    No direspect OSOC but haven't you figured out yet that you can't reason with IDIOTS? They are not intelligent enough to have a debate which is based on FACTS. I actually tried to talk to obama liberals this weekend, stating actual facts to them; their only response was "I don't like to argue" and "Ï get so mad when talking politics". Says it in a nut shell right there.
  • by tod Location: seven sprngs on Dec 9, 2010 at 03:07 AM
    wow! a judge actually followed the constitution thats great if judges would do that more often the lawyers for the town of cary would have known better than to even try that crap. so glad that real justice prevailed hope he makes the sign bigger and bolder
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