Victory! All charges dismissed and jail sentence for repairing windshields reversed.
Obtain written code interpretation from Longmont, ensuring that Mr. Smith will not be prosecuted again when he goes back to work.
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.
Raymond (“Rich”) Smith
City of Longmont
Boulder County District Court
Judith L. LaBuda
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.
July 14, 2015
Clint Bolick was Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. He was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in January 2016. He has successfully litigated constitutional cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and in federal and state courts from coast to coast.
Jim Manley is a Senior Attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Before joining the Goldwater Institute, Jim spent six years litigating cases defending free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, taxpayer rights, and property rights in state and federal courts. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School.
Veronica Thorson is a staff attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Veronica earned her JD with pro bono distinction from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, where she was an associate editor for the Arizona State Law Journal and a member of the Federalist Society. During law school, she completed an internship and a clerkship with the Goldwater Institute. Before law school, Veronica received an MFA in creative writing from ASU, where she was awarded an inaugural Virginia C. Piper Summer Fellowship for her fiction. She earned her BA in English from New Mexico State University, graduating with Distinction in University Honors.