Is a flag worth going to jail for? Joseph Hornick seems to think so.
Hornick faces possible legal action for flying a Donald Trump flag outside his West Long Branch, New Jersey, home, reports News 12 New Jersey. According to Middletown Patch, Hornick could be forced to pay up to $2,000 in fines, or even sentenced to jail time, should he not comply with a local ordinance prohibiting the display of political signs more than 30 days before an election. New Jersey's primary elections are scheduled for July 7.
Hornick had reportedly called police several times to report his flag—bearing Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan—had been vandalized, and assumed that when cops showed up at his door in late March, it was in response to his complaints. Instead, they gave him a ticket.
"I really wish the police would help me catch these people who are criminally trespassing on my property," Hornick, a retired firefighter, told Patch. "I am looking at the police to help me and give me justice. Instead, they come to my house and deny my freedom of speech. The West Long Branch police should be fighting crime, and not flags."
In fact, Hornick may have a point. As The Washington Post's Eugene Volokh points out, the specific ordinance in question may, in fact, violate the First Amendment, per the 2015 Supreme Court case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, which ruled on the government's authority in regulating the content of signage.
Hornick, for his part, is not backing down in the face of legal action, explaining to Patch, "I will go to jail to support this principle. If I have to be incarcerated to make my point, so be it. If this gets Donald Trump a million votes, I'm happy for it."
He is reportedly scheduled to appear in court before a judge on Apr. 20.