A Clearwater lawyer who got a ticket for having a loud stereo back in November of 2007, had his case elevated all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. On Wednesday, he won. The justices ruled the state law prohibiting loud noises from car speaker systems was an unreasonable restriction on the freedom of expression. Richard Catalono is very happy. "I'm not trying to sound arrogant but, yes. I expected to win. I don't know many attorneys that are worth their salt that don't expect to win."
Catalano's case wound through the court system for years. He says he was playing Justin Timberlake's song, "Future Sex Love Sound" with his windows up, when a St. Petersburg police officer pulled him over and issued him a $73 ticket.
The Florida Supreme Court took issue with the fact the law exempted commercial or political noise from a car, but not music. Catalano agrees. "If I'm in front of my house playing Led Zeppelin, "Houses of the holy" on my car stereo, and that can be just audible at 25 feet away, you get a ticket.
Before you crank up your car stereo, be warned. The Pinellas County Sheriff says his deputies cite people under a county ordinance. And that law stands.
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