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CHICAGO JUSTICE AND OUR FLAG Richard La Dieu Rich LaDieu This is going a wee bit too far....


Too-loud flapping flag earns $100

June 22, 2000


Considering Thomas LaBarbera's recent legal troubles, maybe the American flag
outside his Grayslake home should have been at half-staff Wednesday. But it wasn't
flying at all.

LaBarbera, 40, was found guilty this week of disturbing the peace after neighbors
complained that his flag was too noisy.

After the ruling Tuesday, LaBarbera removed the Stars and Stripes from the pole it
had flown from, on and off, for the past seven years.

"Can you believe it?" LaBarbera, an engineer, said of Lake County Judge Victoria
Rosetti's finding him guilty and fining him $100. "Our flag should stand no matter

Not when it's noisy, some of LaBarbera's neighbors said.

Terrance Horan, whose bedroom window is 14 feet from the flagpole, testified he
couldn't sleep because of the racket when the clips securing the flag banged against
the aluminum pole.

Grayslake police Cmdr. Matt McCutcheon said police responded to several
complaints the past few years about the noisy flag.

They tried to work out a compromise, getting LaBarbera to attach padding to the

Apparently that wasn't enough. On May 31, neighbors complained again, and police
ticketed LaBarbera for disturbing the peace.

The judge agreed. Besides fining LaBarbera, she also placed him under court
supervision for 90 days.

So LaBarbera took down his flag.

"I don't know what else I should do," said LaBarbera, whose three brothers served
in the military. "I'm shocked. This is the American flag."

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