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The First Amendment remains in effect in Fort Bend

For now, at least.

Karen Fonseca, the owner of a white truck at the center of a social media dispute with Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, is considering a civil rights lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.

Fonseca’s attorney, Brian Middleton, made the announcement during a press conference on Monday. Middleton added that the American Civil Liberties Union has also expressed interest in a possible lawsuit.

“We should not allow Sheriff Nehls to intimidate people into silence,” Middleton said. “This is wrong and we will not let it stand.”

The threat of legal action stems from controversy over a Facebook post Nehls made on Wednesday, Nov. 15, regarding Fonseca’s truck, which bears a sticker that reads “F— Trump and f— you for voting for him.”

Nehls threatened to charge Fonseca with disorderly conduct over the sticker. A day later, Fonseca was arrested on a pre-existing fraud warrant out of the Rosenberg Police Department.

Middleton and State Rep. Ron Reynolds allege that Nehls’ public dispute with Fonseca is a politically-motivated attack designed to gain attention as Nehls considers a campaign against Rep. Pete Olson, who represents the 22nd District of Texas.

“I demand an apology from Sheriff Nehls for targeting (Fonseca) and making her life and her family’s life a living nightmare,” Reynolds said in a statement.

Fonseca has since added a new sticker that reads “F— Troy Nehls and f— you for voting for him.”

I hadn’t covered this before now, but I’m sure you’ve seen the stories; some earlier Chron articles are here and here. To be perfectly honest, I don’t much care for the Fonseca’s bumper stickers. They’re tacky, and as a parent I have sympathy for anyone who would prefer their kids not see that. But clearly, they have a right to decorate their truck in that fashion, and Sheriff Nehls has grossly abused his office by arresting Karen Fonseca, against the advice of the Fort Bend County District Attorney. He deserves to get his hat handed to him in court for this. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show, this ought to be good.

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8 Comments

  1. Flypusher says:

    1) Fonseca is a troll
    2) Nehls took the bait, hook, line, and sinker
    3) I turned on the radio last night in the middle of a statement I think was from Fonseca’s lawyer, about how Nehls wants to challenge Pete Olson for the TX-22 seat, and this was some PR for the GOP base. Take that as you wish; I’m adding a bit of salt.

  2. BillK says:

    This event made me think of this from “Catcher in the Rye,”

    “I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another “Fuck you” on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.”

  3. I am with you as a parent and you know what if I was on the SCOTUS you would have a lot of free speech rights but you couldn’t put F bombs on trucks.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Is this the same Ron Reynolds with the criminal convictions, suspended law license and a bankruptcy due to being sued into oblivion by his own clients? That Ron Reynolds? I guess criminal birds of a feather really do stick together.

    The woman is a troll. I support her right to free speech, but here’s a pro-tip for Karen: next time you want your 15 minutes for being vulgar, make sure you aren’t wanted for any crimes. The police routinely check license plate numbers to see if the registered owner has any warrants. You can see them at stop lights randomly inputting the plate number of the person in front of them. In this case, the public sent the info to the Sheriff. It’s not unreasonable that he would check out who owns the vehicle being complained about. What was he supposed to do, NOT act on the warrant he discovered?

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    @Paul,

    I think I read somewhere that Justice Kennedy will be retiring after Christmas. Send your resume to President Trump!

  6. Mainstream says:

    If the woman’s warrants were only checked because she came to public attention due to her apparently protected First Amendment expression, that is troubling. It reminds me of the investigations of True the Vote’s founder by the IRS, and many other conservative groups, who appear to have been targeted because of their political viewpoints by IRS bureaucrats. Targeted enforcement of laws to squelch political dissent is not good policy.

  7. Joel says:

    As a parent, I am more than happy for the opportunity to show my kids the first amendment and political peotest in action.

    I think the words only have the power you give them, and they are far less obscene than the travesties being conducted in our names every day.