Saturday, December 21, 2019

Burning the American Flag is Protected Free Speech

But there is a flag whre burning it is not protected.  12/19/19 Des Moines Register:
An Ames man was sentenced Wednesday to about 16 years in prison after he set fire to a church's LGBTQ flag in June. 
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was found guilty last month of third-degree arson in violation of individual rights — hate crime, third-degree harassment, and reckless use of fire as a habitual offender. ...
Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said the hate crime charges were added because Martinez is suspected of criminal mischief against someone's property because of "what it represents as far as sexual orientation."


  1. "The Story County jury also found Martinez guilty of being a habitual offender for two prior felonies, Reynolds said."

    You think maybe this being a third strike felony had a tiny little something to do with the long term? I know that's not as headline/clickbait worthy, but it's probably important.

  2. Burning YOUR flag should be protected speech, regardless of the flag. Stealing someone else's flag should be a crime, regardless of the flag. Burning flags on someone else's property without their permission should be a crime, regardless of the flag. Twice-convicted felons should get less leniency than first time offenders. I don't like the concept of hate crimes, but there's plenty of ordinary crime here without getting into motives. 15 years seems like a lot, but i don't know what's typical for a third felony, or if there are some other details that the story left out.

  3. Certainly he broke several laws, but charging this as a hate crime is not dependent on having stolen the flag or setting it on fire. If he stole and burned an American flag, would he be going to prison?

  4. Sevesteen has the right of it.

  5. So, let me get this straight...clubbing someone over the head to steal and burn their American flag is a-ok, and not worthy of arrest; but a non-violent theft and burning of a gaystapo flag is worth the better part of two decades in prison?!

    Remember that the next time someone tries to tell you that LGBT's (who overwhelmingly support NAMBLA, btw) are 'just like the rest of us.'

  6. TCK: Did the Texas flag-burning include assault and theft?