Quiz 2: Constitutional Limits on Criminal Law

Criminal Justice

Brief summary of the case: Mr.M was convicted for violating section 9.52.100 of City L's Municipal code.As per the code, any immodest, filthy, or indecent act conducted by a person in the presence of a person or in such a situation where other persons might pass by and see the same. Mr.M violated this code by standing naked near his apartment window.Another resident of the apartment while parking his car saw Mr.M standing naked and called the police.The District Court convicted Mr.M and the Supreme Court reversed this judgment and dismissed it. 1) Exact wordings of the offense conducted by Mr.M: As per the municipal code of city L, it is unlawful for a person to conduct any indecent or immodest act.It can be either in the presence of any particular person or in a situation where there are chances for people to pass by and see the act. 2) Acts deciding whether Mr.M has violated the code: The unlawful act conducted by Mr.M as per the municipal code of City L is that he was standing naked near his apartment window.A person of the same apartment saw the nude body of Mr.M from above his thighs.Later when the police officers came, they also saw Mr.M's nude body.As per the law Mr.M is not suppose to perform such indecent acts in places where there are chances for others to see it. 3) The test used by court to decide whether the ordinance is vague and void: The court is of the view that the ordinance having a criminal nature should be clear and definite in its meaning and implementation.In this case, the ordinance says that indecent and immodest act of a person is unlawful.However, indecent and immodest are very broad and general terms and what all actions coming under that are not specified properly in this ordinance.This makes the ordinance vague and void. 4) Reason for the ordinance to be void: The ordinance explains that any act of indecent and immodest nature in front of others is unlawful.However the level of decency and modesty will be different for different persons.A decent act of a particular person may not be considered as decent by another person.Thus being indecent and immodest does not make the act illegal. 5) Reason supporting the ordinance to pass the void for vagueness test: The ordinance prohibiting the indecent and immodest act in the presence of others may be broad and general in some aspects.However, incidents like exposing nakedness to others have to be considered illegal.Indecent exposures and immodest behavior which hurt others respect and dignity should be considered as illegal.In such a condition, the ordinance is clear and applicable. 6) Mr.Y's opinion on the clarity of the statute to a reasonable person: In Mr.Y's opinion, the statute has lack of clarity regarding the warning given to the individuals about the acts prohibited by law.It also results in the discriminatory enforcement of law.Since the statute does not clearly mentioned the activities prohibited under the law, individuals of normal intelligence would not be able to identify the same. Reasonable persons have to be provided with clear notice regarding the unconstitutional acts under the statute. Conclusion: The case of state versus Mr.M discuss about the ordinance which is vague in nature.As per the ordinance the indecent and immodest acts of any person will be considered as illegal.The void for vagueness doctrine states that the ordinance is vague as it does not clearly mentions the activities which come under the indecent category.

Brief summary of the case: Mr.R is convicted with a hate crime for his furious conduct against a pizza hut employee.Mr.R who entered the pizza hut placed his order and started scolding the employee for touching his pizza.He used several bad words to scold the employee and pounded his fist on the shop's counter.Mr.D, the manager of the store Mr.H, another employee of the shop testified against Mr.R in that incident. Mr.R was sentenced to two year's probation, to perform hundred hours of community services and attend counseling for anger management.He appealed against the sentence stating that the hate crime statute is unconstitutional, broad and restricts free speech.The court has affirmed the conviction and sentence. 1) Elements of Court I's hate crime statute: The hate crime statute of Court I mentions that a person will be convicted for hate crime statute when he does it for the reasons of race , color, gender, religion, sexual orientation and physical or mental disability.As per the statute the convicts would be assaulting others, trespassing to the residence and vehicle and damaging other's properties.The person will be prosecuted for behaving aggressively and disorderly to others. 2) Facts deciding whether Mr.R has violated the hate crime statute: Mr.R had behaved aggressively and furiously to the employee of pizza hut for a reason that the employee is homosexual.Mr.R had abused the employee and mentally tortured him.The statute clearly says that any person by a reason of race, color, or sexual orientation assault or behave disorderly to another person, would be convicted. 3) Court's opinion on the non-violation of Mr.R's right to free speech: The court is of the opinion that Mr.R would not have been shouting and expressing his beliefs loudly by frightening or threatening others.The freedom of speech is not violating here because he was not expressing his thoughts peacefully.Using the right to free speech as a loophole for escaping from such misbehavior is not supported by the court. 4) Mr.K's opinion on whether the statute punishes speech or non expressive conduct: Mr.K is of the opinion that the hate crime statute punishes those who express their beliefs and thoughts violently and furiously by physically or mentally hurting others.People have the right to express their feelings and thoughts.However, they should not force it to others through violent means.Hate crime statute does not violate the freedom of speech and expression. 5) Mr.K's opinion on the purpose of the statute: According to Mr.K, hate crime statute is to prevent or reduce the aggressive, violent or disorderly behavior of people to others.Such act of people results in social unrest and conflicts.The right of a person for speech and expression should not be misused to force his beliefs and thoughts on others.The statute aims at correcting the disorderly conduct of citizens. 6) Whether Mr.R's argument for defending his act was valid: Mr.R's argument for defending his behavior was that he reacted harshly because the employee was homosexual.It is evident that he conducted the misconduct on the basis of sexual orientation.As per the statute, misconduct by the reason of sexual orientation, race and ethnic will be punishable under the hate crime statute.Thus Mr.R's arguments are invalid. Conclusion: The disorderly conduct of Mr.R towards the pizza hut employee is punishable under the hate crime statute.The misbehavior of Mr.R was mainly on the ground of sexual orientation.The statute aims at preventing the misconduct of people on the basis of race, color, religion, and sexual orientation.At the same time, the statute does not violate the freedom of speech and expression of the citizens.

Brief summary of the case: In the case of Company GCO versus State G, the plaintiffs Company GCO and Company BT, Mr.ES and Mr.JK filed a ruling for questioning the relevance of State G's firearm laws regulating the possession of weapons, which includes knife and handgun, in a place of worship.The court's decision was in favor of the defendants, governor of State G and other officials.Court dismissed the case. 1) Provision of State G's statute which violates the plaintiff's right to bear arms: A bill amended Sate G's statute by adding a provision of prohibiting the carriage of weapons at public gathering.Public gathering consists of government building, court room, jail or prison, place of worship, and near nuclear plants.In this case, the plaintiffs mentions about the place of worship.The plaintiffs were concerned about their right to keep and bear arms for security purpose, under the second amendment 2) Reason for court's decision to support the defendants: The plaintiffs are provided with the right to keep and bear arms for self defense by the second amendment of the constitution.The court imposes restriction on places where they can possess arms.The sensitive places have been excluded from it.Sensitive places include schools, government offices, and place of worships. Place of worship is considered as sensitive because of the activities take place there.The court points out that the devotees coming there should be free from fear or threat of attacks.Thus it has been necessary to prohibit the usage of arms inside the places of worship. 3) Mr.A's opinion on Supreme Court's decision on Mr.H's case and scope of second amendment: In the case of Mr.H, Supreme Court identifies the second amendment guarantees the individuals with the right to carry weapons for self defense in case of confrontation.However the scope of this right is vast.Unfortunately, Supreme Court could not explain the entire scope of second amendment.Only the right of an individual to keep handguns at home for self-defense was located clearly by the Supreme Court in the second amendment. In Mr.H's case, it is also mentioned that the law prohibits the usage of weapons in sensitive places, but places coming under the sensitive category are not explained properly.Thus, Mr.A agrees with district court's opinion on lack of clarity in the scope of second amendment executed by the Supreme Court.It may not provide much guidance to the lower courts. 4) Mr.A's view on allowing the plaintiffs to carry guns with them in the church: After considering the amendments, Mr.A is of the view that chances are very less for allowing the plaintiffs to keep handguns while they are in places of worship.The places of worship had been considered as sensitive place due to the activities taking place there.The plaintiffs had failed to claim relief under the second amendment effectively. However if they get permission from the security or management personnel to secure and store firearms, the statute would also grant them to do the same. Conclusion: The plaintiffs were not able to claim relief under the second amendment to attain the right to carry weapons in place of worship purely for self defense.As per the statute they can avail the right only if any security or management personnel give permission to keep firearms with the plaintiffs.