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Downey : Nativity Hearing Delayed

December 18, 1986

A judge delayed a hearing to decide whether a Nativity scene must be removed from the Downey Civic Center.

The creche, which was set up by a citizens group on a lawn across from the Downey police station, is the focus of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Downey.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard A. Lavine last week continued the hearing to Monday to allow more time for Downey's lawyers to prepare motions seeking to exclude evidence from the case, Downey City Atty. Carl Newton said. The ACLU filed a motion for summary judgment in the case on Nov. 14.

The ACLU, which filed suit on behalf of three Downey residents, contends that the placement of the Nativity scene implies city preference for one religion in violation of the state Constitution.

City officials counter that the park area is open for public use and that they could not deny a permit for the creche.

The Downey Christmas Assn. erected the Nativity scene alongside the city's historic arch Dec. 6.

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