Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Chief Wahoo Decision

Another decision handed down today by the Supreme Court of Ohio today dealt with the burning of Chief Wahoo in effigy on Opening Day, 1998. Here is the info:

BELLECOURT ET AL., APPELLEES, v. CITY OF CLEVELAND, APPELLANT, ET AL.
[Cite as Bellecourt v. Cleveland, ___ Ohio St.3d ___, 2004-Ohio-6551.]
Civil rights – Section 1982, Title 42, U.S.Code – Right to free speech not violated
by arrest after burning effigy where municipality’s interest in preserving
public safety is implicated.
(No. 2003-1202 — Submitted May 26, 2004 — Decided December 15, 2004.)
APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County, No. 80193, 152 Ohio
App.3d 687, 2003-Ohio-2468.

In a 5-2 decision authored by Justice Maureen O'Connor, it was held that:

"Under the facts before us, we determine that the arrests were narrowly tailored
to Cleveland’s asserted interest in preserving public safety.... and any incidental
limitation on appellees’ First Amendment freedoms was justified. Accordingly,
Cleveland is not liable to appellees pursuant to Section 1983, Title 42, U.S.Code." (See para. 13 of the majority opinion)

Later


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