A former Georgia commissioner who was charged with trespassing at her local jail is challenging a state law that allows authorities to arrest people who “loaf, linger or stand around” near inmates, reports the Associated Press. Beulah Dollar filed a federal lawsuit yesterday contending that Telfair County Sheriff Jim Williamson violated her civil rights when she was arrested in 2006 as she attempted to meet with prisoners at the county jail without first seeking his permission.
The suit, filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights, argues that the law is is too vague and broad, and that it limits free speech. “Commissioner Dollar has a right and duty to monitor the jail,” said the center’s Gerry Weber. “Dragging out the archaic, likely unconstitutional ‘loaf and linger’ law to obstruct her well-intentioned efforts was a clear violation of her rights.”