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Constitutional Law Keyed to Maggs
R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minn.
Citation:505 U.S. 377 (1992)
In June 21, 1990, petitioner and several other teenagers allegedly assembled a crudely made cross by taping together broken chair legs. They then allegedly burned the cross inside the fenced yard of a black family that lived across the street from the house where petitioner was staying. Although this conduct could have been punished under any of a number of laws, one of the two provisions under which respondent city of St. Paul chose to charge petitioner was the St. Paul Bias-motivated Crime Ordinance. The ordinance prohibits anyone from placing on public or private property a symbol, object, including a burning cross, which one knows arouses anger, alarm, or resentment in others on the basis of race, color shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The petitioner argued that this ordinance was substantially overbroad and impermissibly content based and thus invalid under the First Amendment.
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