This free exchange of word and expression was recognized by our fore fathers as one of our fundamental rights. They recognized, all those years ago, the importance of protecting Freedom of Speech and Expression. The importance of Free Speech has not diminished, and it is not for any individual entity to limit any citizen’s right to express himself peacefully save by amending the Constitution itself. That being said let us turn to the case at hand.
Upon reading the circumstances surrounding the scenario provided I decided that I would evaluate the merits of the case based on the perspective of that of a defense attorney. In reviewing the case provided, the fundamental question that needs to be addressed is: Did the defendant in this case break any law? The prosecution’s entire case is based on the defendant being arrested for being a public nuisance and causing injury, although indirectly, to Gloria Trek. The state’s entire case rests on the constitutionality of the public nuisance statue and whether or not it infringes on the defendant’s right to free speech, which I will prove it does.
Title 46 of the Florida Criminal Statues 823.01 which defines Nuisances states “All nuisances which tend to annoy the community or injure the health of the citizens in general, or to corrupt the public morals, are misdemeanors of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083, except that a violation of s. 823.10 is a felony of the third degree.” (Public Nuisance, 2000, n.p.) This statute is very vague in nature and is by this very ambiguity subject to wide interpretation as to what constitutes being ‘annoying’. The phrasing of the statute in that manner allows for far too much discretionary power by individual law enforcement officers in deciding when and whom to arrest which brings into question the equal enforcement of the law and the discriminatory