Daily appeals ruling that labels misdeliveries ‘littering,’ newspaper ‘garbage’
NEVADA — Saying its First Amendment rights were not taken into account, a Sparks newspaper appealed a municipal court ruling in mid-January that found the company guilty of depositing “rubbish and garbage” on a man’s front lawn.
In a December ruling, Judge Don Gladstone fined the Daily Sparks Tribune the maximum of $1,100 under the city’s littering ordinance after a property owner complained about repeated unsolicited newspaper deliveries to his home.
Randy Frisch, president and publisher of the Tribune, said the newspaper will argue on appeal that the city’s anti-littering ordinance is too broad; that the ruling is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment; and that newspaper distribution does not fall under a littering ordinance.
Frisch said the deliveries to the non-subscriber mistakenly could have been made by the newspaper’s independent contractor for that area, a 12-year-old boy. But the deliveries still should not have been classified as “littering,” he said.
“If you can’t distribute, there is no First Amendment,” Frisch said. “Ideas must have a means of distribution, and we do not feel such a newspaper is garbage.”