The Winona Daily News reports:
Police have issued a ticket this week to a 14-year-old Winona Senior High School student for desecrating a U.S. flag.
The teen, whose name is withheld because he is a juvenile, admitted he planned to desecrate it when he bought it and knew that was illegal, police said. The misdemeanor ticket carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine....
[The teen told the police he] bought the flag, wrote song lyrics on it, tore it to pieces and burned it with cigarettes....
According to the Minnesota statute, it is illegal for anyone to intentionally or publicly mutilate, defile or cast contempt on the flag or to place words, marks or designs on the flag that don't belong there....
Naturally, the student can be punished for skipping class (something he did, apparently to attend "the Rage Against the Machine concert Sept. 3 in Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention"), and if he burnt the flag with cigarettes at school, and possession of cigarettes at school is prohibited (and the prohibition would normally be enforced even against a non-flag-burner), he could be punished for that, too. But given the Supreme Court's well-known holdings striking down flag desecration laws such as this one, the prosecution of the teen appears to be legally frivolous.
Thanks to W. Edward Howard, Jr. for the pointer.
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