Goodwins' fight against land grab and First Amendment violations gaining national attention
This weekend, Forbes carried an excellent story about PLF’s fight on behalf of Edward and Delanie Goodwin. In July, PLF attorneys filed a First Amendment challenge to protect the Goodwins’ right to speak on their own private property. Walton County banned signs on privately owned beaches last year, hoping to allow the public to trespass on private beaches without having to pay for the use. County officials threatened the Goodwins with large fines for keeping two “private property” signs and one small sign saying “If Walton County Wants My Property, It Must Pay For It — U.S. Constitution.”
In September, the County agreed to temporarily stop enforcing the sign ban. But then in October, it passed an ordinance declaring that the public has a right of custom to use private beaches across the entire county. PLF responded by challenging the County’s blatant land grab as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Today, on National Review, George Leef shares more about the Goodwins’ case, stating,
I read about lots of cases of governmental villainy, but this one is among the worst.
National Review’s Roger Clegg also gave PLF a special “shout-out” for representing the Goodwins for free (as we do for all of our clients, thanks to our donors’ generosity). He said,
The generosity and inclusive spirit of PLF are underscored by the fact that, even though it is named after that West Coast ocean, it is happy to litigate on behalf of the owners of beachfront property in Northwest Florida.
Clegg is right. We have cases from coast to coast, with offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Arlington, Virginia; Bellevue, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Sacramento, California. We have cases pending in many more states, because government poses threats to liberty across the nation. As Leef wrote this weekend,
At all levels, government poses constant threats to our rights and only through eternal vigilance, as Thomas Jefferson observed, can we protect them.
Read the rest of Leef’s excellent Forbes article about the Goodwin case here.
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Goodwin v. Walton County, Florida
Under a new Florida law, signed on March 23, 2018, Walton County, Florida, can no longer try to steal free access to private property. County officials had enacted an ordinance banning signs on privately owned beaches, in hopes of allowing the public to trespass on private beaches without having to pay for the use. County officials threatened PLF clients Edward and Delanie Goodwin with large fines for keeping in place two “private property” signs and one small sign saying “If Walton County Wants My Property, It Must Pay For It — U.S. Constitution.” The Goodwins argued that the First Amendment protects their right to post signs on their property, and that the ban left the Goodwins with no reasonable alternative means to alert the beachgoing public to their property rights. The new state law now requires the county to go to court if they want to claim any right for the public to use private property.Read more
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