Tennessee Woman Wins Free Speech Suit After Being Fined For Political Sign In Her Yard
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Tennessee Woman Wins Free Speech Suit After Being Fined For Political Sign In Her Yard

A Tennessee woman recently won a free speech lawsuit after officials initially fined her for a political sign in her yard. The woman placed a sign that read "F-k em both 2024." It's in reference to both political candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The city of Lakeland, Tennessee found the sign obscene and fined her.

Now, a federal judge has ruled in her favor. They've ordered the city to refund her money in fines and fees and over $31,000 in attorney fees. Over the past few months, Julie Pereira drew controversy as well as fines for her political sign. Defiantly, she's placed American flags around it, and even at one point installed a spotlight on the sign.

Until now, Tennessee officials fined Pereira $50 a day for five days. Officials found it violated city regulations that prohibit "statements of an obscene, indecent, or immoral character, which would offend public morals or decency." It also prohibits "statements, words or pictures of an obscene nature."

In total, she ended up with $688.45 in fines and other fees after refusing to remove the signs. Afterward, she paid the fines and covered up the U in the phrase. However, she decided to take the matters to court believing they violated her freedom.

Political Sign Leads To Court Case

"In the interest of protecting not only my rights, but all citizens in the state of Tennessee this case has been taken to the next level because of its constitutional impacts," Pereira posted on Facebook after filing the suit. "Hopefully this will be the end of freedom of speech violations in this area."

She explained that she made the sign because she didn't believe in either of the political candidates. However, her neighbors didn't like the sign. "It has implied expressive language that I feel is inappropriate for younger people," neighbor Nathan Scallon told the local ABC affiliate in February. "There are rights that should be protected, but that doesn't give us license to act in an immoral or inappropriate way, especially regarding children in the area."

However, she vowed not to remove the political sign until after the election.

"I'm not afraid to say what I stand for and believe in," Pereira said.

"Listen, I think I was on to something here," she posted on Facebook. " Grab your very own right here before they sell out!"