Homer Martz, Iowa veteran, charged with desecrating U.S. flag


#1

Washington Times:

Homer Martz, Iowa veteran, charged with desecrating U.S. flag

An Army veteran who flew a U.S. flag upside down outside his Iowa home last week was reportedly arrested and charged with desecration of the flag.Homer Martz flew the upside-down U.S. flag under a Chinese flag to protest an oil pipeline being built near his home in Calhoun County, The Messenger reported Friday.
Mr. Martz said two Calhoun County sheriffs came to his home Thursday morning and took the flags down without his consent.
“They said, ‘You can’t do this. We have a statute.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry but you shouldn’t have took them down,” he said. “So I walked back out and put them back up, and they arrested me.”

Under Iowa law, flag desecration is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to 30 days in jail, The Messenger reported.
“If they had asked me to take them down, and showed me the statute, I would have taken them down,” Mr. Martz told the paper. “But in my book, they trespassed by taking the flags down.”

He said the officers told him the flagpole, posted at the end of his driveway, was in the county right-of-way. He said the officers also removed a sign he posted on the flagpole that read, “In China there is no freedom, no protesting, no due process,” The Messenger reported.
“They took my sign,” Mr. Martz said. “So I have to go buy the materials to make a new sign.”

The Supreme Court ruled in separate cases in 1989 and 1990 that flag desecration is a form of constitutionally protected “political expression.” Despite this, at least 40 states still have unconstitutional flag-desecration laws in place, The Associated Press reported last month.


#2

Don’t the Supreme Court rulings make flag desecration laws unenforceable? I understand that state legislatures are reluctant to repeal popular, but unconstitutional, laws. But the situation seems ripe for misunderstandings, needless aggravations, and possibly lawsuits.

Edit:

I guess a county judge has already dismissed the case

kcci.com/news/judge-dismisses-oil-pipeline-protest-flag-desecration-case/41224468


#3

Yeah, I remember back in the 80’s an anarchist challenged the flag burning laws. I thought it was considered protected speech?


#4

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