Judge says creche ban on busy road is safety issue

WARREN (AP) -- A judge says Macomb County has done nothing illegal by banning a Nativity scene on a median on a busy road in Warren.

The county says it would be a hazard on Mound Road, just north of Chicago Road. John Satawa's display is 9 feet high, 8 feet wide and 8 feet deep. He accused the county of violating his free-speech rights as well as other constitutional guarantees.

But in a 48-page decision Tuesday, federal Judge Gerald Rosen said Macomb County has legitimate concerns about safety. He visited the site. Rosen notes that a nearby church and nearly a dozen businesses have offered to host the Nativity scene.

Satawa apparently had set up the display for decades before someone complained in 2008.

Published: Thu, Apr 21, 2011