Federal judge clears way for lawsuit vs. Frederick

December 03, 2003

A Frederick man can sue the city over a monument of the Ten Commandments that sits on a parcel formerly owned by the city and visible from a public park, a federal judge has ruled.

Judge William D. Quarles Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Baltimore refused to dismiss a lawsuit that says the 5-foot-tall, tablet-shaped monument violates the separation of church and state. The suit says that last year's sale of the monument in the Bentz Street Graveyard Memorial Ground to a private group was an attempt to evade legal liability while allowing the memorial to remain on "apparently public property."

Quarles said in an opinion filed last week that if Chambers can demonstrate that the transaction was a "sham," the city might be liable.

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