Right to criticize? Protest sign case heads to high court

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether a homeowner had the right to put up signs on her property criticizing a home contractor.

Justices have scheduled a hearing for Tuesday in the case of Milford resident Eileen Arisian, who in the fall of 2010 erected signs saying that she didn’t recommend the contractor and that the contractor was facing lawsuits.

The city’s zoning enforcement officer said the signs violated local regulations and ordered Arisian to take them down. When Arisian didn’t comply, the enforcement officer sued.

A lower court ruled last year that while the city had authority to regulate advertising signs, Arisian’s were not advertising signs. The city is appealing that ruling.

Arisian also says the signs are protected by free speech rights.

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