Lawsuit over denial of ‘IM God’ license plate can proceed

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According to documents in U.S. District Court, Tiffany Louise Walsh of Hazard pleaded guilty last week and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – An Ohio man had a personalized license plate saying “IM GOD,” but when he moved to Kentucky, his request for the same one was denied.

In 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on his behalf challenging Kentucky regulations.

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The Lexington Herald-Leader reports a ruling released Friday from U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove allows Bennie Hart’s lawsuit to go forward.

The state’s lawyer J. Todd Shipp says the plate was rejected because it was “not in good taste,” and could distract drivers and create confrontations. Ship says Kentucky would have taken the same position had Hart requested plates reading “IM ALLAH,” ”IM BUDDAH” or “IM SATAN.”

ACLU-Kentucky attorney Heather Gatnarek says Hart’s request was denied for reasons that violate the First Amendment.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.