1. What is vagrancy? Why have traditional laws against vagrancy been held to be unconstitutional?
2. Consider a state law that reads as follows:
Breach of Peace— Incitement
a. Any person who utters a statement in the presence of another person that a reasonable person would find offensive is guilty of breach of peace, a class B misdemeanor.
b. Any person who utters a statement to another person that would be found to be threatening to life or limb by a reasonable person and that would likely provoke a reasonable person to respond with violence is guilty of breach of peace, a Class A misdemeanor.
1. Does Section a violate the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause? Explain your answer.
2. Does Section b violate the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause? Explain your answer.
3. Bob buys a house that turns out to be a financial drain. If he decides to burn it down one day, and has no intention of filing an insurance claim, is he guilty of any crime? Why or why not?
4. Consider the following scenario: Rita Zenlo is a 34-year-old woman who is undergoing emotional counseling for sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Her counselor advised her to keep a personal journal, and to write about her memories and feelings. Rita found the exercise to be cathartic and wrote hundreds of pages describing in graphic detail the abuse she experienced at the hands of male relatives in the 9th, 10th, and 11th years of her life. Believing that her writings may be helpful to others who have been raped and sexually molested, Rita created a website where she posted her writings. She named the website “A Victim’s Reflection.”
A local police officer discovered the URL for Rita’s website on a computer that had been seized during the search of the home of a man suspected of possessing child pornography. When the police checked the browsing history of the suspect, it was discovered that he had visited Rita’s site 88 times. The police reviewed her site and discovered that it contained graphic accounts of rape and sexual assault of Rita when she was a child. The police contacted Rita and demanded that she remove the material describing her rape and molestation. She refused and has been charged with violating the state’s obscenity law, which is identical to the Model Penal Code obscenity provision. Rita’s defense is that her postings are protected speech under the First Amendment.
Discuss Rita’s defense in detail. Are her postings protected speech? Explain your answer. Include a discussion of applicable Supreme Court case(s) in your answer.