July 14, 2015
Victory! All charges dismissed and jail sentence for repairing windshields reversed.
On June 11, 2015, Rich Smith of Longmont, Colorado, was sentenced to one year of probation, a $385 fine, and a 20-day suspended jail sentence. His crime? Operating a windshield chip repair business at the hotel he manages.
The City of Longmont shut down his business and, under the terms of his probation, will imprison him if he continues to operate, because, like many windshield repair businesses, Mr. Smith used a van as his repair shop. The City claimed this violated the zoning code, but at trial, no Longmont official could explain how Mr. Smith violated the code provision under which he was charged. Nor has the City explained why Mr. Smith’s business must be banned, but others just like it can operate throughout the city, including other windshield repair vans and food trucks.
As businesses adapt to an increasingly mobile world, threatening to lock up entrepreneurs and banning perfectly safe businesses because they do not operate out of a brick-and-mortar storefront is not just bad policy—it is unconstitutional.
At his criminal trial, Mr. Smith represented himself; now, teamed up with the Goldwater Institute, Mr. Smith is appealing his criminal conviction and defending his constitutional right to earn a living, so he can get back to work and pave the way for entrepreneurs nationwide to follow in his footsteps.
Raymond (“Rich”) Smith
City of Longmont
Boulder County District Court
Judith L. LaBuda
We are asking the District Court to determine: (1) that Mr. Smith’s business did not violate the Longmont City code provision under which he was convicted; or, alternatively (2) if Mr. Smith’s business is banned under the City code, that such a ban on safe and honest businesses deprives Mr. Smith of his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection – his right to earn a living.
July 14, 2015
Jim Manley is a Senior Fellow at the Goldwater Institute. He is a co-author of the Goldwater Institute’s Campus Free Speech Act. Jim has worked with policy makers across the country to help enact reforms aimed at restoring free speech as a living tradition on college campuses. A native of Michigan, he graduated from Arizona… Read more...
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