Thursday, February 25, 2016

SAR: Judge makes ruling in artist case

Judge makes ruling in artist case
Posted: February 24, 2016 - 11:36pm | Updated: February 25, 2016 - 4:42am

An order by a federal judge on Wednesday gives a partial victory to four artists who filed suit against the city of St. Augustine.

The order, signed by U.S. District Judge Brian Davis, grants part of the artists’ motion for a preliminary injunction — a decision that means the city must stop enforcing certain rules related to street sale of art until the case is settled.

The artists — Bruce Bates, Elena Hecht, Kate Merrick and Helena Sala — filed the lawsuit and the motion in federal court in Jacksonville in 2015. The complaint reads that since a previous court ruling in 2009 “the city has incrementally cut back on the First Amendment rights of plaintiffs by implementing a series of new ordinances which extend the ban on the creation of art and the vending of art from a limited fourblock area of St. George Street, to include four additional streets, and two public parks within the city’s downtown area.”

As a result of the ruling, the city can’t enforce its peddlers ordinance, certain financial requirements and hours-of-operation rules for mobile vending while the litigation is pending, said City Attorney Isabelle Lopez. City officials will be further reviewing the order in the coming days, she said.

The parties involved in the case have until mid-March to file a case management report to let the judge know where things are in the case after Wednesday’s order, according to court documents.

Check Friday’s St. Augustine Record for more details on the order.

martystaug 02/25/16 - 12:55 pm 00Careful what you wish for
Before you know it we may have crowds of children and adults enjoying free arts and entertainment on the streets of St. Augustine, instead of spending money in the shops and restaurants. We certainly wouldn't want that now would we? Time to bring in the lawyers to outlaw fun again, and of course any competition.

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