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Delaware shop owner loses First Amendment fight with town over decor


DEWEY BEACH, Delaware — A Delaware shop owner has lost his free speech fight over the decor of a beach store.

The News Journal ( ) reports that U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark has ruled the store's owner wasn't persuasive in claiming Dewey Beach overstepped in repeatedly issuing fines over decorations.

Jason Fruchtman, the owner of Jeremiah's, had contended that regulating his store's appearance just because town officials thought it was ugly infringed on commercial free speech.

But the judge wrote that enforcement resulted because he was the most prominent violator, and his non-compliance incited other business owners to violate the law as well.

Town officials said in court records that they worried the garish merchandise attached to the walls of the store got in the way of people on the sidewalk and distracted drivers.

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware,

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