VA Man Sues County Over Free Speech in Silver Spring

The Gazette reports that the plaintiff was given a ticket for handing out religious material in downtown Silver Spring last March.

Are downtown Silver Spring's sidewalks public property, or do they belong to the development entities who created the adjacent buildings? A suit against Montgomery County by a man who was banned from four blocks in downtown Silver Spring after he distributed religious material on the sidewalks may force an answer. 

The Gazette reports that Michael Corral, of Falls Church, VA, was apporached by a security guard on March 23, 2012 as he read the Bible and passed out religious literature on the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street

Corral was told that he was standing on private property and then escorted to two Montgomery County Police officers, who agreed that the sidewalk was owned by a collection of developers behind Downtown Silver Spring, a development that includes Regal Majestic movie theater, according to the Gazette.

Corral was eventually cited with a Tresspass Notification Form and banned from returning to four blocks in the area, located on Ellsworth Drive, Ellsworth Park and Fenton Street, the newspaper reports. The Montgomery County Circuit Court will rule on the civil suit. 

Read more on the Gazette

Bob February 23, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Sure looks like public property to me.
Kim Cooke February 23, 2013 at 08:24 PM
I have to agree. However, is this the type of activity requiring a permit from the county?


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