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Can anyone help me with this Constitutionality Question?


DP Veteran
Apr 2, 2009
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This year's mock trial constitutional issue is whether a fictitious statute is constitutional or not. It is called the "Anti Bullying and Cyber-bullying of Students Act" (the ABC'S Act). I have to argue that it is unconstitutionally curtailing protected speech, it is not furthering a sufficiently compelling state interest, and it is not narrowly tailored to the interest.

I'd appreciate help at basically every point of this case, but for now, I'm going to just ask for help on arguing that it is curtailing protected speech. As part of the pre-trial argument, we have a number of cases we can use. The Supreme Court cases are: Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, Watts v. U.S., Tinker v. Des Moines, Texas v. Johnson, City of Chicago v. Morales, U.S. v. Williams and Morse v. Fredericks.

The lower court cases are: U.S. v. Dinwiddie, Mardis v. Hannibal Public School District, In re Ryan D., Wisniewski v. Board of Education, J.S. ex rel H.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District and Evans v. Bayer.

The full case brief is available here but I need to get the code to view the case PDF file on the link. I'll get it as soon as I can.

Unfortunately, I can't draw use any case law outside what's listed specifically for our use, but I am questioned by the judge during my argument, so any outside information I have, I can sneak in during that phase.

Thanks for everyone's help on this. The next post will outline what I can use for arguing the speech is protected.
So far, this is what I have.

I have to argue that the statute in its entirety is unconstitutional, but to do that, I have to first prove that it is curtailing protected speech in this specific instance of its use.

Jesse Woodson (18 yrs old), the defendant, posted on "Faceplace" a web page entitled "Clip Angel's Wings," meaning to provide a place for students at Dunbar Middle School to vent about how much they dislike Angel Sterling (13 yrs old), the victim of bullying and assault by a deadly weapon. Jesse Woodson also posted on the web page, "Someone should teach that kid a lesson. Anyone got a brick? LOL." The brick statement alluded to the incident where Jesse threw a brick at another kid for harassing his/her sister, and accidently hit the kid in the chest with it. Jesse was not charged in that incident.

The other middle schoolers knew Jesse was joking about the brick, but Angel was threatened earlier with a brick, and thought the person who threatened her/him was Jesse.

I currently use Watts v. U.S. to point out that speech must be taken in context, and in this case, the speech did not constitute a true threat, because of its context. Further, under Texas v. Johnson, if speech has a larger context and is therefore symbolic, expressive speech, it is protected speech under the first amendment.

I also argue that the courts found in U.S. v. Dinwiddie that speech cannot be limited simply because it is forceful or aggresive, and that speech can be curtailed if it is direct and unconditional whereas Jesse's speech was indirect and completely conditional.

Last, I use Evans v. Bayer as an example. I argue that the speech, just like in Evans, did not pose a foreseeable risk of substantially disrupting the school environment because 1. it was off-campus speech, and 2. the target audience was off-campus. In our case, the speech was off-campus, and the target audience, a group of kids known as the "Pirates" was an off-campus group.

I'm not too worried about this part of my argument, but I want to make sure my argument is full-proof.
1. It's fool proof, not full proof.

2. Seems like you have a decent argument. Are these real cases or fictional ones for your mock trial?
1. It's fool proof, not full proof.

2. Seems like you have a decent argument. Are these real cases or fictional ones for your mock trial?

Yeah these are all real cases, and thanks for the spell check
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