You won’t believe the sentence one man got for burning a pride flag

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Free speech is teetering on the brink.

More and more people are quick to curtail rights in the name of “safety.”

Now one man just got an unbelievable sentence for burning a pride flag.

Flag burning is a controversial topic in the United States.

The landmark Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson ruled that burning the American flag is a form of protected speech.

Anti-American protesters like members of the domestic terrorist group Antifa commonly show their disdain for the country by setting the American flag on fire.

As repugnant as that may be, it’s important to protect speech, because the alternative would lead to an Orwellian nightmare.

But one troubled man burned a pride flag, and got a shocking sentence.

Reason reports:

An Iowa man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for stealing and burning a church’s rainbow LGBT pride flag.

No, Adolfo Martinez did not actually hurt or assault anybody in the process of stealing the flag off the front of the United Church of Christ in Ames and burning it in front of a bar he had been kicked out of last June. Though the 30-year-old did threaten to burn the bar down. And in an interview with Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI he even confessed to the crime, making it clear (sort of; we’ll get to that) that it was motivated by disapproval of LGBT people.

Having been previously convicted of two non-violent felonies, Martinez got a harsher sentence because of “habitual offender” guidelines.

Martinez’s actions and motivations were despicable, but 15 years for burning a flag, even with his prior convictions, is more than excessive.

Authorities clearly wanted to make an example out of him.

Martinez’s sentence underscores the problem with hate speech laws pushed for by leftists.

It’s an end-run around the Constitution.

Burning the American flag is acceptable because it doesn’t involve “hate,” but burning the pride flag somehow isn’t protected speech.

That’s a dangerous precedent to set if the state gets to decide thought crimes based on political activism.

Should Martinez have received 15 years for his actions?

Leave a comment below.

87 COMMENTS

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  2. I believe, what is not to believe anymore! Looseness runs rampant in our courts, there is no respect for the right side of things … look at our far left Democrats! Action(s) do tell the whole story – don’t you know.

  3. Wait a minute! Burning the American flag is not a hate crime and is covered under freedom of speech. But burning an alphabet people’s flag, that was in front of a CHURCH named Church of Christ no less, IS a hate crime???Why? He didn’t assault these despicable people. But because this man KNOWS that this type of flag does NOT belong in on a church and he was exercising his right to honor GOD this is a crime? And this poor soul was sentenced to 15 years for this?? Disgusting !! Totally disgusting!! I hope he appeals and is found not guilty and sues them!!
    Our American flag represents our country , our morals and beliefs. That also honors all that served and died to keep our country safe and free .Burning it is a hate crime! At least as I am concerned. But burning a made up flag that honors these people that are an abomination in GOD’s eyes have more rights than our symbol of freedom?? NO, NO, NO !!

  4. I agree with you 100% ! A transgender in Wyoming raped a 10-year old girl & received less time – But then the metally ill sex perverts are protected by the liberal left & Democrats women & children don’t count.

  5. Well, I thought all you A-holes here would be happy because he’s a Mexican immigrant. Hate knows no borders.

  6. The sentence is a clear pandering to the group that is steamrolling their agenda. We can thank California for this and other sick acts. Teaching grade school kids how to put on condoms and making a game out of it by having races to see who is fastest Telling kids that they can be “any thing they want to be” used to mean working hard and making your dream come true. Now it means you can dress as any sex you want. What do 3rd graders need to know about gender confusion ?

  7. The judge who issued that sentence needs to be sent to prison for ONE HUNDRED TIMES her ridiculous, absurd, despicable, and utterly EVIL sentence. Instead, he or she should have sentenced the owners of the flag for TAUNTING under NFL rules, substituting years in prison for yards penalized.

  8. This is the problem with the left. They’re really dictatorial and totalitarian when wanting their own beliefs and rules honored. They will meet out the most horrific penalties to those who go against them. It’s OK to burn the American flag but god help you if you burn one of their flags. They will put you away for a long time. That’s the truth about the left that no one will talk about. Vote Republican in 2020 or lose your freedom and your country.

  9. IN MY OPINION: burning the American flag is a hate crime and should receive the death penalty.
    God forbid they burn it in front of me.

  10. The sentence does seem excessive, however with 2 previous felony convictions, violent or not, one would think that pause for thought would have loomed large.

  11. Huh, burning the U. S. Flag isn’t about hate????? Anyone with half a brain knows it’s about hate. It’s hate for the United States, it’s hate for the U.S. Constitution and our other free institutions. It’s hate for our system of governance and economy. It’s hate for normalcy.

  12. Good example of why we are conservative. You surely had other adjectives in your vocabulary, however you used one that contradicts what you are saying. Calling another person names is hateful also. When I was small the quote was “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” that we were taught to ignore hateful rhetoric. Oh, for the Good Old Times, when children were taught to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. Sound familiar? Too bad the left removes this “rhetoric” from public places, instead of using it for teaching children.

  13. I think it is a terrible crime to send someone away for this at all…….A better example would be community service…(Still not fair or deserved, but makes more sense) which should cost the American taxpayer nothing….And have a productive member of society contributing….

  14. The word felon is like assault weapon. Used by the corrupt masters to CONTROL their peons. And what do alot of these supposed patriots say and do? They thinks it’s great. They say they do not support GUN CONTROL. But in FACT YOU DO. The felon cannot own a firearm came straight out of the 68 GUN CONTROL ACT. Instead of keeping violent people from ever hitting the streets again. Let’s just impose a unconstitutional law (LIE) on them. They will grasp it and WE GET OUR FOOT IN THE DOOR. It worked. Hope you all are happy. More to come. But make no mistake. Our true living GOD who sent his son Jesus is on the move. The warnings stopped. All the signs are there. Come Lord Jesus. Let the wicked feel your WRATH.

  15. Yeah really, where is the perverted ACLU, Anti Defamation League, SPLC, ABA and all the other left wing so called justice warriors? If it is not a crime to burn the American flag then how the hell is it a crime to burn the pervert’s flag? My guess is that the judge is also a sick pervert.

  16. All American people should understand, this is what happens when you vote Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever they want to be called, into office.

  17. This judge should get his sentence of 20 years for taking bribes to save face and his job. Judges seem to be playing politics and trying to score brownie points by the democracts, has this phony judge did the right thing he be scorched by the whiney democracts and these snowflakes.

  18. Hey Alan, the democrats should be recruiting him to vote. I mean every election cycle, they have millions of felons voting. In this case, the guy is a felon and an illegal,the two categories that democrats love and protect and of course, voting in our election system.

  19. It’s ridiculous and way out of line! Must have been a homosexual judge that presided! Well fix that. Can’t fix stupid but we can correct dumb actions from the bench. So help us God.

  20. So, if one of those LGBTWXYZ types rapes a little girl s/he or it gets a comparative legal slap on the wrist. Naughty, naughty! But burn one of their flags and you get nearly TWENTY YEARS IN PRISON?

    Folks, I cannot wait until the Judges are judged by the Judge of all things.

    At least their robes are figuratively the right color now! Remember those Hippie Liberals wandering around with bouquets of flowers, peace signs, and dressed in sandals and white robes back in the ’60s? Remember them preaching peace, love and tolerance for all? Telling us to drop out and resist and do drugs? Free love? Free speech?

    Well, they dropped back in. They’re politicians, lawyers and judges dispensing pure hate, bigotry and rigid intolerance now. It’s their way or else! Yeah, how’s that for love, and tolerance?

  21. He is a sociopath with chronic criminal behavior. The sentence is stiff but maybe he needs a stiff one. If you are going to stand behind what the American Flag represents, then you must stand behind the principles our nation is based upon; freedom, justice and equality for all–including those who’s views you do not agree with. Sorry, to bust your hate bubble.

  22. The judge must be a liberal nut case! Take this to a higher court! You give a softer sentence to people who murder children.

    Why was the church even flying a flag like that? Are you the ones who filed charges against this young man? What is wrong with you. This is NOT justice! Not exactly spreading God’s word are you? …must be political. I would have nothing to do with them. Probably pedophiles in there. Perhaps they need to be investigated.

  23. This guy that burned the “Queers Flag!, should be made a “KNIGHT”. I’d burn the damn flag also. Screw their Political Correctness.

  24. WAIT UNTIL THEY START ENFORCING MUSLIM LAWS IN ALL OUR COURTS TOO ! Probably get two sentences – one for American Laws and the other for a foreigners laws that something we now to adhere to in several areas of the nation – already ! Oh well soon I guess they will just shoot us in the back of the head on the side of the road to set more examples. Oh well what are we going to do ? We are just peons and pawns in the hands of those we elect – perhaps we need to start electing better crooks !
    Oh by the way all these groups want me to respect THEM – when wilt happen that they start respecting ME ? I have thoughts, rights, and opinions too – what aren’t mine respected ?????????

  25. WHAT? SERIOUSLY? DIFFERENT STANDARDS FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. THIS IS INSANE AND I HOPE AND PRAY THAT HE CAN APPEAL THIS . GO TO THE SUPREME COURT! YOU CAN BURN OUR HONORABLE AMERICAN FLAG AND THAT IS OK BUT BURN A LBGT FLAG AND YOU GO TO JAIL FOR 15 YEARS?? OUR WORLD HAS GONE COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY INSANE. WE THE PUBLIC ARE WATCHING THIS AND WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THIS GUY…………THIS IS NUTS!!!!

  26. Burning the AMERICAN is showing HATE for AMERICA, if it isn’t hate but free speech, that same ruling should apply to the burning of the LGBT Freaks FLAG. It is not Hate but a dislike and not agreeing with them

  27. The Research Center for Crimes Against Children abusers “can be neighbors, friends and family members. People who sexually abuse children can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues, and any other place children gather. Significantly, abusers can be and often are other children. • About 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. Only 10% of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger. Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members. The younger the victim, the more likely it is that the abuser is a family member. Of those molesting a child under six, 50% were family members. Family members also accounted for 23% of those abusing children ages 12 to 17.9 About 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts. Homosexual individuals are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual individuals, ” According to US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health the “ratio of abuse on children by heterosexuals compared to homosexuals is 11 to 1. “

  28. 15 years seems excessive to me as well. But then again, he did threaten to burn down a bar full of people. That would be what, like 100 counts of murder? So maybe not.

  29. Antifa and other anarchist leftists steal U.S. flags from Trump supporters and burn them and are not arrested or charged, yet this flag is removed and burned and it costs 15 years? Appeal, appeal, appeal!

  30. This is one of those mis-carriage of justice. How is this a felony when burning the American flag on public is not. The theft is nothing more than a misnomer. 15 yrs for a non-violant crime. needs appealed

  31. Disagreeing with an evil life-style is not hate. In fact, it could more accurately be called love. Those with sexually confused desires need help to escape a dead-end lifestyle rather than blind acceptance that only serves to lock them into it. By the way, justice and equality has never meant allowing people to do whatever their messed up desires lead them to do.

  32. Don’t blame it on California. Start with a leftist SCOTUS and sub courts. Blame a POTUS who made public a view that oral sex isn’t really sex. Blame leftists who hijacked the educational systems to promote an agenda of everything which opposes traditional values is a good thing.

  33. It’s not a “pride” flag, it is an arrogance flag, stolen outright from Jews and Christians, given by God as a sign He would never destroy the world again with a flood.

  34. I agree! I’m far past fed up that all the perverts get special treatment at the expense of normal people!

  35. ZERO. NONE. Only the symbols of perverts are protected. The rest of us are told to turn the other cheek & suck it up.

  36. I refuse to allow a bunch of perverts to twist and destroy the symbol of faith and promise God gave the world after the great flood! The rainbow stood for good long before they stole it to pervert! Screw them! Get another symbol and leave the rainbow alone!

  37. Because deep down they are ashamed of their twisted perversions! They know they are wrong. Decent people illustrate that, so they hate us and want to destroy us.

  38. The sentence might have been a little excessive but he did deserve some time. I can’t believe the hate in the above comments. It’s a shame what some of these people think. Maybe they should look at themselves to see what has made them so hatefully.

  39. 15 years is hardly an overstep for someone who is expressing hatred for a group of people and is clearly a threat to the public. This is not protected speech. Burning an American flag in protest of policies is not an expression of hatred for a people, but protected speech about a political action.

  40. Burning the American Flag is a hate crime if it is burnt around me! I am going to beat the Hell out of a man, woman, or kid that burns it and i _”HATE” I HAVE TO DO IT BUT I WILL! I really believe it is not democrats vs, republicans BUT GOOD VS. EVIL. A CIVIL WAR IS DEVELOPING IN AMERICA AND IT WILL NOT BE LONG!!!

  41. I would burn every pride flag in the country if I could. What that flag represents is an abomination to the God of the Universe and the day will come when those who promote it will be judged by Him, not me.

  42. I wish there was a way to get Trump to pardon this man on the grounds that if it’s okay to burn the American flag (which this action shows hatred against military, veterans and Americans that respect them for fighting for our country and flag), then it’s okay to burn a rainbow flag – according to the Liberals’ thought process and law – then it’s okay to show how you feel which is also freedom of speech!!! Send it to the Supreme Court and get a ruling, if nothing else. Liberal judges keep getting nuttier every day. This is craziness.

  43. But he didn’t burn down the bar!!! If he was in an argument with someone and yelled “I’m going to kill you” but burns a flag instead, he can’t be sentenced for saying “I’m going to kill you” when he didn’t kill the person. That’s crazy!!

  44. The mistake Martinez made was when he stole the pride flag and then burned it. Under provisions of the law that justified conviction at least for theft and then for the destruction of property that belongs to someone else. He should have bought his own rainbow pride flag and then burned it in protest. Any prosecution for that amounts to a violation of free speech just as burning Old Glory is free speech as long as it doesn’t belong to another person.

  45. Homosexuality is a sin against God and a freak of nature. Homosexuals are sexual perverts and should not be allowed around a child

  46. Linda, you are right on. That flag has no place in a church. Not only is homosexuality an abomination, but they stole God’s sacred symbol that He would never destroy this earth with another flood. And pride goes before destruction. It is really going to suck to be them when Jesus returns

  47. How are you all missing it? It wasn’t the burning of the flag that got him 15 years. He stole the flag (1st crime), he destroyed someone else’s property (2nd crime), he admitted that it was because he hated them (3rd crime), he threatened to burn down the bar that he burned the flag in front of (4th crime) and on top of all that he has two prior felony convictions. He should be thankful he didn’t get life for three felonies (the three strikes, your out law).

    If he bought a price flag and burned it in a safe manner, he wouldn’t have been arrested, which lead to his conviction and 15 year jail sentence.

    It wasn’t the fact that it was a pride flag, but because it was stolen.

  48. Linda again we think alike my first thought on this was the same it is ok to burn “Old Glory” our USA flag however not the alphabet [love it] flag.

  49. Shame upon the church which nonbiblically displayed the anti-God flag, and shame upon the judge who sentenced a man for burning a flag representing sexual abomination.

  50. I read where Putin recently activated compulsory military service for those convicted of the crime of dissent against the State. The punishment: being stationed in Siberia for length of military service.

    Remember election 2018 when Democrats gained the majority in the House!
    Mark my words, if Democrats retain the House, gain the majority in the Senate and win the Presidency they will never stop their march to tyranny!

  51. Linda…I agree with your post as a disabled Vet but as for this man this burn was probably just added to a more serious problem we just were not told about. If indeed the burning was his only “crime???” then we as a nation are in deep trouble.

  52. What part of “stole flag from church” and a habitual criminal do people not understand. That’s why he was sentenced.

  53. Justin needs a math lesson: IF the “ratio of abuse on children by heterosexuals compared to homosexuals is 11 to 1“ and the ratio of heterosexuals compared to homosexuals is 100 to 1, then it is 9 times more likely that a homosexual will abuse a child. (100 / 11 = 9 times). So just keep your hands and needledic to yourself.

  54. That’s the problem with this country a fag can call me a spick. Then if I call him a fag I’m homophobic. The truth is that they are heterophobic. I don’t care what they say or do it is wrong for a man to have sex with another man.

  55. PEG
    deRanger – you forgot one VERY IMPORTANT thing, “They” are also teachers and professors in our schools and colleges these days – and all too many of them are teaching our kids that America “has never been as great” as we think it was/is. They are shoving what they learned in communes and Communist cells down the throats of America’s kids. Parents need to question their kids more about what they are being taught.

  56. joan, you are right on. There is a double standard. What dems do is right and anyone they do not agree with is always wrong.

  57. Karin, you are right on. God calls homosexuality an abomination and any church which endorses it is NOT a Christian church

  58. Real Americans need to speed up that attention.. the future of a great USA is at stake.. otherwise we will end up another cesspool like so many around the world..

  59. some will during their march as they fall fatally wounded.. others will be meeting in structures that may suddenly go up in flames or high explosives.. this in your face challenge needs to be addressed as it has gone to far now.. empty headed children are being radically influenced by scum and turn to them for more input as to how to become a total leftist clown.

  60. there are only immigrants and illegal aliens.. the leftist azzwipes would have you believe that Real Americans hate anyone not from here. Of course they all think cnn is a news organization and what comes from the mouths of the pimpos and hores on that repugnant media slime pit is the truth.. they spout crap like “undocumented worker” and the hores on the left work feverishly to get scummy enema bag democrapo politicians to pass crap for laws like the turdos in crapafornia giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses, welfare benefits, and worst of all the right to vote in state elections.. and the morons all agree with the enema bags, that is why that worn out old drunken murdering hore clintoney almost won the oral office… yes with help from the crapafornia and new dork major cesspools..

  61. If the value of the flag was at least one thousand dollars, then Adolfo Martinez was likely charged with a felony just for having stolen it: grand theft flag.

  62. Absolutely not!
    A flag is only a piece of cloth.
    Burning a gay pride flag is a reaction of hate?
    Maybe, but so is burning the American flag- burned by those who hate this country.
    But burning the Stars and Stripes is protected as free speech, while burning some rainbow flag is considered a crime punishable by imprisonment?
    This is what’s wrong with this country- it’s priorities are totally upside-down, and not only over burning some flag.

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