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$62,000 in Legal Fees for Flag Bust

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (CN) - Missouri and a Cape Girardeau police officer must pay $62,000 in legal fees for arresting a man on unconstitutional flag-desecration charges, a federal judge ruled.

Frank L. Snider, who was upset that the government denied him disability benefits, shredded a U.S. flag with a knife in his yard in October 2009.

A neighbor called police, who arrested Snider for violating a state law prohibiting desecration of the flag.

Snider, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the constitutionality of the law.

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ruled one year ago that the law was unconstitutional and that Snider's arrest violated his right to unreasonable seizure. Jackson ruled in December that Snider was entitled to $7,000 in damages for the approximately seven hours he spent in jail.

The latest ruling, on Thursday, was on the ACLU's request for legal fees.

Jackson found Missouri and arresting officer Matt Peters responsible for the bill.

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