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Minnesota top court finds part of disorderly conduct law unconstitutional

January 16, 2018

Via: Jurist

The Minnesota Supreme Court overruled part of a state disorderly conduct statute on Wednesday, saying that it violated the First Amendment because it is “overbroad.” Minnesota Statues 609.72, subd. 1(2) makes it a crime for a person to disrupt a legally held assembly.

The case was brought after defendant Robin Lyne Hensel appealed her conviction under the statute after she had silently protested at a City Council meeting and refused to leave when asked. The majority wrote, “Due to the countless ways in which can prohibit and chill protected expression, we conclude that the statute facially violates the First Amendment’s overbreadth doctrine.” The dissent, agreeing with the state, wrote that the statute could be narrowly construed to prohibit only conduct not protected by the First Amendment.

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