Crime; Animal Abuse

John has always been passionate about the safety and welfare of animals, especially dogs. So when he
learned on the news that his hometown Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick was arrested for animal
abuse relating to the operation of a pit bull dog fighting ring he was devastated. Wanting to channel this
devastation into productive action John drove to the Atlanta Falcons practice facilities the next morning and
walked into the Falcons’ front lobby holding a sign reading “FIRE VICK” while yelling “REAL QUARTERBACKS
LOVE THEIR DOGS!”
A local television station happened to be in the lobby preparing for a live player interview when John entered
the lobby, so the cameraman began filming John’s protest. A young reporter, looking to make a name for
FIRED, WE WILL TAKE THE STREETS TOMORROW AT 9AM AND DESTROY VICK’S HOUSE!”
John was arrested under an Atlanta criminal statute that made it a felony to “…make statements harmful to a
public figure in a way that could jeopardize the safety of that public figure…”
Upon arrest and conviction, John appealed his case to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that his
statements were protected by the First Amendment.
Assignment:
Please analyze whether John’s statements were protected by the First Amendment. What exceptions apply, if
any? Will John’s conviction be overturned? What cases that we’ve done could be cited for/against John’s
position?
Sources:

Schenck v. United States

Brandenburg v. Ohio

https://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/constitutional-law/constitutional-law-keyed-to-rotunda/incitement/hess-vindiana/

United States v. O’Brien

Virginia v. Black

Texas v. Johnson

Miller v. California

Gitlow v. New York

Reference no: EM132069492

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