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Mo. flag desecration law uncontitutional

March 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 22 (UPI) -- Missouri's law banning the desecration of the United States flag or Missouri state flag was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson issued a permanent injunction to prevent enforcement of the law Tuesday, St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported.

The decision came after a Cape Girardeau man sued the city, the Cape Girardeau County prosecutor and a police officer, accusing them of violating his civil rights when he was arrested for cutting up a U.S. flag and throwing the pieces into the street.

Frank L. Snider said he was upset the Social Security Administration denied him disability benefits.

He first attempted to set the flag on fire in his front yard on Oct. 20, 2009. Unable to do so, he shredded the stars and stripes with a knife and threw it into the street.

A neighbor called police to complain and an officer cited Snider for littering. Snider was later charged with violating the state's flag desecration law, arrested and held in jail for eight hours.

On Wednesday, Jackson ruled Snider's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure was violated by the police officer when he was arrested for violating state law.

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