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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Arguments continue in flag desecration case
Houston County Courier


By Jenna Duncan News Reporter The ruling on the case of Terence D. Johnson, the Bryan man who was arrested in May for the desecration of a United States flag, was reset for Oct. 17 in the Houston County Court-at-Law. Houston County Court-at-Law Judge Sarah Clark said she previously thought she was prepared to make a ruling, but after researching cases that deal with the same subject matter she could not come to an immediate ruling. “I’ve spent a long time on this case trying to make a decision on the motion to dismiss based on the unconstitutionality of the statute, and I was moved by the state’s argument that it was your burden to prove that was a speech in expressive context, and I didn’t know that we had reached that, that I had been showed that, by the evidence that has been taken into consider ation so far so I’m really taking that into consideration again,” Clark explained. Johnson’s lawyer, Joshua Liles, had fi led a motion to suppress statements made by Johnson, so Clark reset a hearing on the motion for Oct. 17, where she will also make a further ruling on the case. Johnson was arrested on May 3 after he allegedly tore down a United States fl ag and threw it on a highway in Lovelady, outside a store where allegedly a Lovelady merchant made comments about Johnson’s mother. In late June, Liles presented arguments that the state’s law about desecration of a United States fl ag is unconstitutional, and Johnson’s actions were protected speech. While Clark did not issue a ruling, she ordered Johnson to write a three-page report on the proper usage of the fl ag. Because Johnson is out on a personal recognizance bond, Clark said the assigned report is now part of the bond conditions. “That is some information regarding the fl ag and proper use of a fl ag, not regarding his case. I’m not asking him to make any statements on his case, just to understand the proper use,” she said.


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