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Federal judge overturns Indiana library’s ban of 68-year-old man over anti-Trump poem

FLORENCE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 15: Former President Donald Trump prepares to speak at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on January 15, 2022 in Florence, Arizona. The rally marks Trump's first of the midterm election year with races for both the U.S. Senate and governor in Arizona this year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SEYMOUR, Ind. (WISH) — A federal judge in Indianapolis on Thursday ruled the Jackson County Public Library violated the U.S. Constitution when it permanently banned a man over an anti-Trump poem.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled the library violated Richard England’s First and Fourteenth amendment rights when it banned him in November 2020.

England, 68, had written a poem entitled “The Red Mean” protesting then-President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Know no good, 

Bring out your dead, 

Let them eat cake, 

Off with your head. 

Before you become 

Donald Trump’s clone, 

Know Satan’s reward 

Is only a loan. 

Liars are losers, 

Haters are cruel, 

Oh what a pity 

To die such a fool.

The Red Mean by Richard England

He left the unsigned poem at the circulation desk of the Seymour Library for an employee he was friendly with.

Another employee found it and notified Seymour police, who informed England he would be arrested for trespassing if he returned to the library branch.

Pratt ruled England’s poem was not a true threat, and that he “was engaged in expressive activity when he left The Red Mean at the circulation desk in November 2020 and such speech implicates the First Amendment and its protections.”

Pratt also ordered a full reinstatement of England’s library privileges.