Prosecutor drops flag desecration charges, cites Supreme Court ruling

Monday, October 26, 2009 | 10:28 a.m. CDT; updated 1:14 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Charges have been dropped against a southeast Missouri man accused of flag desecration.

Misdemeanor charges were filed Friday against 30-year-old Frank Snider III of Cape Girardeau. But prosecutor Morley Swingle told the Southeast Missourian he later dropped the charges because of a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that protected flag-burning under the First Amendment.

Swingle told the newspaper he had been unaware that the case invalidated state flag desecration laws like the one passed in Missouri in 1980.

On Tuesday, police found a flag lying in the street. Snider told police he had torn it and thrown it into the street after failing to burn it. Police said Snider told them he blamed the country for his inability to find a job.


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