‘I’m aware of my constitutional rights’: City ordered to pay woman over $31K after fining her for controversial yard sign

LAKELAND, Tenn. (WMC/Gray News) – A city in Tennessee is now ordered to pay a woman over $31,000 after fining her for a controversial yard sign.

Julie Pereira told WMC that she is not a fan of either presidential candidate this election year.

As a result, she placed a sign on the front lawn in mid-January that reads “F*** Em’ Both 2024.”

Perreira said the city of Lakeland sent her a notice of violation and fined her $50 for every day the sign remained up.

Nonetheless, she kept the sign up.

“I am well aware of my constitutional and protected rights and that the City of Lakeland’s sign ordinance contains several unconstitutional requirements and regulations,” Pereira said.

She took the city to court over the fines, and the city filed claims against her. However, in June, the city dropped the lawsuit.

On July 3, a federal court declared the city’s fines unconstitutional, citing the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case Cohen v. California as precedent.

The court ruled that Pereira’s political sign was not obscene, and the city may not lawfully regulate it based on the viewpoint city leaders express.

Now, the city has to reimburse Pereira $688.45, which includes all fines, fees, costs, and expenses she faced from the city over the sign.

The city is also ordered to pay her more than $31,000 in damages.