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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 However, Snyder was unconvinced. "Seizing property under a civil action is iffy. Are we going to confiscate all the kitchen knives?" he asked. "Almost one-third of these cases are nolle prossed [by the State Attorney's Office]." "We are going in the right direction," Snyder continued. "Domestic violence homicides are down. But the person serving the restraining order is the one most affected. To tote and store all these seized items, that is outside what we should be involved in as a city." The commission approved moving forward in terms of drafting a resolution for the Legislature, in collaboration with the State Attorney's Office, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and other municipalities. Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Snyder were in the minority on the 3-2 vote. JUDGE SMACKS CITY OVER SIGN WAVING City Attorney Bob Fournier put two thorny problems before the commissioners Monday. On Feb. 1, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Rick DeFuria ordered a temporary injunction on the city, banning interference with anybody standing in public right of way with a sign. Fournier knew the ordinance — dating from the 1960s — would probably be held unconstitutional on free speech grounds, so he sent an email last September to the Police Department, recommending officers not enforce it. He also began the process to repeal the ordinance, which passed the first reading on Jan. 7. Page 13 police arrested a man in the public right of way on Jan. 17 for holding up a sign saying. "Stranded and Hungry," and put him in jail for five days. The Sarasota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has been "watchdogging" the city Police Department's treatment of homeless and vagrant people; it jumped on the case. Meanwhile, four days after getting out of jail, the man took his sign to the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Fruitville Road. Although he was not arrested, he was told twice to "move on" by the police. DeFuria heard the case the next day. Fournier said this second incident "tipped the scales for the judge, and that's why this injunction says these people can't be told to move along because they are exercising their First Amendment rights." Fournier is in a jam only the law could create. He is forced to defend an ordinance he knows is unconstitutional and will be repealed. Yet, he does not want the city to remain under a permanent injunction, because that greatly complicates writing and passing a new and presumably constitutional ordinance regarding public safety. Fournier suggested the City Commission give him authority to appeal DeFuria's injunction, because the law provides only a 30-day window within which to file an appeal. In addition, he wants to meet with the ACLU chapter to see if its members will ask DeFuria to drop the injunction. While the second reading, which would con- The commissioners agreed to the "talk first, firm the repeal, was scheduled for Jan. 22, city appeal if necessary" tactic.

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