Entrepreneurship Posted on July 13, 2015

Smith v. City of Longmont

Index

QUICK STATUS
Last Step

Victory! All charges dismissed and jail sentence for repairing windshields reversed.

Next Step

Obtain written code interpretation from Longmont, ensuring that Mr. Smith will not be prosecuted again when he goes back to work.

Executive Summary

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. 

 

Case Documents

District Court Decision (12/10/2015) (130.3 KB)

Case Logistics

Appellant

Raymond (“Rich”) Smith

Appellee

City of Longmont

Court

Boulder County District Court

Judge

Judith L. LaBuda

Relief sought

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.   

Date filed

July 14, 2015

 

Author

Jim Manley is a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Jim litigates Goldwater Institute cases nationwide, in the areas of free speech, economic liberty, and ... Read

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