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Man faces up to year in jail for torn and dirty American flag

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ADAMS COUNTY, PA -- A man who an Adams County prosecutor described as "basically homeless" faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for possessing a torn and dirty American flag. 

Under Pennsylvania law it is a crime to show "disrespect" for an American flag. For this crime, Robert S. Forrey has been charged with a third-degree misdemeanor.

State Trooper Ronald Jarvie testified he was on routine patrol when he found Forrey a short distance from the roadway near a red Dodge pickup. Jarvie said he noticed some debris, circled back around and approached the defendant.

The trooper testified he found a large amount of trash at the scene, including VCRs, glass and clothing. He was able to match the defendant's name with mail in the garbage, he testified.

Hanging from a small tree was a dirty flag which the trooper described as "defaced, torn, cut - it looked pretty bad."

Asked by public defender Sean Mott to clarify in what way the flag was defaced, the officer replied, "By the way it was thrown ... it was not folded properly." 

Forrey was arrested for possessing this flag and spent a week and a half in jail so far. The misdemeanor carries up to a year sentence if convicted.

by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 9:54 AM
Replies (11-13):
by Ruby Member on Jun. 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Agreed. What kind of freedom do we truly have if we can get thrown in jail over a flag??? Such crap.

Quoting IhartU:

OMFG. It's a PIECE OF MATERIAL. Some molesters, thieves and drug dealers get less jail time... how stupid.

by Gold Member on Jun. 16, 2013 at 7:44 PM

How is this even legal?

Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was an important decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that the defendant Gregory Lee Johnson's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Quoting Euphoric:


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