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.”
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.