Williams v. City of Cheyenne

Williams v. City of Cheyenne
Benjamin Barr, Stephen Klein, Boyd Wiggam and Tim Kingston

Filed:

January 9, 2014 (United States District Court for the District of Wyoming)

Cause of Action:
1. The sign quantity and time restrictions applicable to Temporary Signs in the Cheyenne Unified Development Code § 6.5.4 violate the First Amendment rights of Ron Williams and other residents subject to the Code.

2. Preliminary and permanent injunctions should prohibit the enforcement of the time and quantity restrictions of Temporary Signs in the Unified Development Code.

Summary:
If a Cheyenne resident displays a political sign on his lawn at the wrong time he risks a misdemeanor charge and $100 fine. Even during the allowed timeframe, if his lot is less than one acre and he places more than two political signs, this violation might also bring the same charge. Such is the censorship provided in the Cheyenne Unified Development Code (UDC), local law overseen by the Cheyenne City Council. This unconstitutional ordinance cannot stand, and we filed a lawsuit against the city to overturn it.

In only one month, this lawsuit led to halting and amending the Cheyenne UDC to respect advocacy through signs on private property.

Procedural History:

  • On behalf of Ron Williams, WyLiberty attorneys filed suit on January 9, 2014 in the United States District Court for the District of Cheyenne.
  • Counsel filed a motion for preliminary injunction on January 23, 2014, with a memorandum in support of injunction describing the constitutional flaws in the UDC
  • On February 4, 2014, counsel for the City of Cheyenne filed a stipulated motion for the entry of preliminary injunction, agreeing that the current regulations in the UDC are unconstitutional and submitted a proposed order that would immediately halt enforcement of the provisions for political signs. Judge Scott Skavdahl signed the order the same day.
  • The Cheyenne City Council voted to adopt an amendment to the UDC on February 10, 2014 that paralleled the stipulated order for injunction.
  • On February 14, 2014, counsel for both parties filed a stipulated motion for dismissal, with a proposed order that Judge Skavdahl signed the same day.

Outcome:

A complete victory for the First Amendment. Cheyenne residents may now display any number of political signs for any period of time on their own property.

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