U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks denied Gulf Stream candidate Martin O'Boyle's request for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the town from removing his campaign signs from its right-of-ways on Monday morning.
It was the second time in a week that O'Boyle petitioned the federal court over his signs for Tuesday's election, the town's first in 21 years and its most contentious ever. Last week, O'Boyle took Delray Beach to Middlebrooks' court for removing campaign signs, but the two sides were able to work out a compromise without needing a hearing.
This time, attorney Thomas J. Baird represented Gulf Stream and argued to Middlebrooks that the town wasn't infringing on O'Boyle's constitutional rights by enforcing its code and removing signs from certain public areas.
"The town has the legal right to remove his signs and any others that were placed within the town's right-of-ways,” Baird said.
As he did with Delray Beach, O'Boyle and his attorney Ryan Witmer argued that the town's restrictions violated the candidate's First Amendment rights. Delray Beach before relenting also had claimed it had the right to remove the signs simply because O'Boyle wasn't running in the city's election.
Though Middlebrooks denied the temporary restraining order, O'Boyle can still challenge the constitutionality of the town's sign code in the courts.
The O'Boyle campaign released this statement: "Considering that the election is tomorrow and considering that Judge Middlebrooks did not have adequate time to hear testimony, Judge Middlebrooks was reluctant to grant the temporary restraining order without testimony. He did point out that a trial would be set in the near future; and that the trial would be determinative of the plaintiff's claims and the constitutionality of the Town of Gulf Stream's sign ordinance."
— Dan Moffett