It’s been a busy week for car stereo rights in Florida. First the Florida Congress said a new car stereo ordinance could invite racial profiling. Then Wednesday, a Florida court said car stereo ordinances are unconstitutional.
The ruling said a statute can’t restrict loud music but yet exempt loud audio at political rallies without violating the right to free speech.
“The statute is a content-based restriction on free expression which violates the First Amendment,” Judge Anthony Black of the 2nd District Court of Appeals wrote, said the St. Petersburg Times.
The case was initiated by a car stereo fan who happened to be a FL. attorney. Richard Catalano was given a ticket for playing his car stereo back in 2007 and thought it was unfair. His case has been through various appeals since then, and will likely undergo more appeals, despite the recent ruling.
Under Florida law, drivers may be fined $30 for playing music that may be heard 25 feet from the car. A bill to increase the penalties was voted down in committee this week with some objecting that it invited racial profiling.