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Old 09-20-2008, 11:34 PM  
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Strict Constructionists: Was this judge out of line?

Sagging Pants Ban Overturned

http://www.kfbk.com/cc-common/news/s...rticle=4255711



A judge in Riviera Beach, Florida has ruled a law banning sagging pants is unconstitutional.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A 17 year old boy spent the night in jail last week after an officer said he spotted the teenager riding his bicycle with 4 to 5 inches of boxer shorts exposed.

Circuit Judge Paul Moyle ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on limited facts. However, the charge hasn't been dropped yet and a new arraignment is set for Oct. 5.

The law was voted on back in March. A first offense for sagging pants carries a $150 fine or community service, and habitual offenders face the possibility of jail time.

The boy's public defender, Carol Bickerstaff, said she wants the city to drop the law regardless of whether anyone dislikes low-riding pants. She also told the judge, "Your honor, we now have the fashion police
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:17 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat2005 View Post
First off this link has completely no details to the case so with my very limited knowledge of this case I will remark.


I fail to see your arguement. A strict constructionalist would uphold any local or state law as long as it did not violate the constitution, that is the arguement here not the sagging. Your point is? You don't have to be a strict construtionalist to do this. If you are trying to attack this particular form of constitutional interpretation you are doing a bad job.
Of course not, upholding the law is easy in this case and didn't necessarily involve the Constitution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat
Now for a judge to say its unconstitutional, the only arguement I find is that this "offense" is in violation of a state or community law. (The article was VERY vague with details). All the judge was doing was upholding current community or state laws. If people don't like the law they should petition against it and get a ballot started.

If this was a federal judge he is just upholding the 10th amendment.

IMO, if a kid wants to sag that is his personal choice. I have no problem with it as long as there is no public nudity taking place.
This article doesn't say he was upholding community standards or state laws. It says he found it unconstitutional, and absent more information that looks like the U.S. Constitution.

And being a federal judge has nothing to do with it. All judges, federal, state, and local have to comply with the U.S. Constitution. It is the supreme law of the land.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:22 AM   #62
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A little more:

Judge: Riviera Beach 'saggy pants' ban unconstitutional
Click-2-Listen
By ELIOT KLEINBERG
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localne...0912saggy.html
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, September 15, 2008

RIVIERA BEACH A judge says Riviera Beach's "saggy pants" law is unconstitutional in the case of a 17-year-old who spent a night in jail for having his underwear showing.

And a public defender said her office wants to get the law tossed altogether.


In Riviera Beach, a first offense carries a $150 fine or a requirement of community service.


Julius Hart was charged Wednesday when an officer spotted him riding his bicycle in the 2800 block of Lakeshore Drive with 4 to 5 inches of blue and black boxer shorts sticking out of his black pants.

A first offense carries a $150 fine or a requirement of community service; only habitual offenders face the possibility of jail time.

But, a report said, the charge against Hart meant a violation of his probation on a marijuana possession charge, so he went to jail.

"Somebody help me," Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle said.

"We're not talking about exposure of buttocks. No! We're talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest and the basis is he's then held overnight, no bond. No bond!" the judge exclaimed.

"Your honor, we now have the fashion police," public defender Carol Bickerstaff said. "Our office really does intend to appeal this ordinance, which we believe is totally unconstitutional."

Moyle ruled the law unconstitutional "based on the limited facts of this case." Instead of issuing bail, the judge released Hart on his own recognizance.

Asked how this will affect the law overall, Riviera Beach's city attorney deferred to the police legal counsel and the mayor, Bishop Thomas Masters. Masters referred calls to city spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown, who said the city hadn't yet seen the ruling and couldn't comment.

Technically, the charge is not yet dropped; a new arraignment is set for Oct. 5.

"The first time I saw this particular fashion, I disliked it, and then I realized I'm getting old," Bickerstaff told the judge.

"You can have Speedo underwear, which is way less than boxer shorts, and that is perfectly legal, but boxer shorts, with pants over them, is not?" Moyle asked.

Bickerstaff quipped, "It's like a Monty Python skit."

City voters had approved the law in March by a 72 percent tally, after Masters lobbied heavily for it, helping collect 4,769 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

The saggy pants fad surfaced in jail, when juvenile offenders wore overly large prison garb that sagged, exposing their underwear. It later became a fashion statement among rappers and remains popular in urban communities across the country.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:26 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon View Post
A little more:
"This is like totally unconstitutional!!??"

Unless the reporter is misrepresenting the situation, I think I may have already put more thought into this than the PD or Judge.

What I'm wondering is when you call for Strict Constructionists, are you asking for Original Intent reviewers of the Constitution, or those who would review criminal statutes under the Rule of Lenity?

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Old 09-21-2008, 08:32 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
First off, there's gonna be a lot of supposition, as this article has very little substance to go on.

But your posit was that there is no law against stupid laws.
I was pointing out that there is a line of Constitutional Review, derived from Due Process rights, that holds that laws cannot be so vague as to create undue confusion in the actor or the enforcer whether the action is a violation.
In that sense, there is a 'law' against laws that are so 'stupidly' crafted that they are unenforceable, or susceptible to selective enforcement.

And I'd guess that's what the judge herein is hanging his hat on. That this is an offshoot of prior vagrancy laws that law enforcement would use as a tool to selectively harass or weed out 'undesireables' without equal and fair application across the board.

As you may have guessed, I am familiar with the vagueness doctrine, but I would contend that it is a prohibition on laws that are too vague to be enforceable, not too stupid to be enforced.

There are still tons of laws on the books that aren't particularly vague, but are pretty stupid.

(edit- I can see a vagueness concern here)
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:39 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat2005 View Post
First off this link has completely no details to the case so with my very limited knowledge of this case I will remark.
Exactly.

Quote:
IMO, if a kid wants to sag that is his personal choice. I have no problem with it as long as there is no public nudity taking place.
I had wondered if this law was aimed at those whose low riders exposed butt crack. If that was the case and they were out in public then I say the local people can set their own standards regarding public decency.

How is that any different than a zoning board passing rules involving aesthetic restrictions?

I wouldn't want to be forced to look at male butt crack. It's bad enough when a repair working in my home has it.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:40 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon View Post
As you may have guessed, I am familiar with the vagueness doctrine, but I would contend that it is a prohibition on laws that are too vague to be enforceable, not too stupid to be enforced.

There are still tons of laws on the books that aren't particularly vague, but are pretty stupid.

(edit- I can see a vagueness concern here)
So when you posted

Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon View Post
There's no law against stupid laws.
You meant, there's no law against every single form of stupid law.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:45 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post

What I'm wondering is when you call for Strict Constructionists, are you asking for Original Intent reviewers of the Constitution, or those who would review criminal statutes under the Rule of Lenity?
I'm asking for people who demand a literal narrow view of the Constitution to determine if they could strike down this law and on what basis.

But for the sake of argument, and based on the info in the second article I found, I will submit that there could be a vaguenes concern here with the issues the judge raised regarding speedos, etc. So for argument's sake let's assume that there arent' any vagueness concerns (i.e., that the law had also prohiited evenly speedos, any exterior failure and exposure of underwear or swimwear off a beach).
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:46 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Exactly.


I had wondered if this law was aimed at those whose low riders exposed butt crack. If that was the case and they were out in public then I say the local people can set their own standards regarding public decency.
It's not for you to say, it's for the Constitution to say.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:47 AM   #69
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I can't see all of the posts in here but I can see a few quotes.

I wasn't trying to imply that a law that is stupid should not be enforced.
JMO that it was dumb.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:50 AM   #70
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Why post in someone's thread you have on ignore?
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:51 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by banyon View Post
I'm asking for people who demand a literal narrow view of the Constitution to determine if they could strike down this law and on what basis.

But for the sake of argument, and based on the info in the second article I found, I will submit that there could be a vaguenes concern here with the issues the judge raised regarding speedos, etc. So for argument's sake let's assume that there arent' any vagueness concerns (i.e., that the law had also prohiited evenly speedos, any exterior failure and exposure of underwear or swimwear off a beach).
Well I guess that analysis would probably hearken back to the Warren Court's derivation of fundamental rights and interests inherent in Due Process, as opposed to applying Due Process to another right or interest already expressly laid out in the Constitution.

So do you see this as unConstitutional simply because it violates Due Process, or is a free expression or like protection also being violated?

I really don't have enough information to process right now.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:06 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post

So do you see this as unConstitutional simply because it violates Due Process, or is a free expression or like protection also being violated?

I really don't have enough information to process right now.
I think it's a fundamental right to dress how you want, so I think your substantive due process argument makes sense. I'd analogize it to the German language case or Skinner with prisoners getting sterilized.

I don't think it's speech, so I would not afford it 1st amendment protection.

Of course, these are not arguments available to strict constructionists.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:08 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon View Post
I think it's a fundamental right to dress how you want, so I think your substantive due process argument makes sense. I'd analogize it to the German language case or Skinner with prisoners getting sterilized.

I don't think it's speech, so I would not afford it 1st amendment protection.

Of course, these are not arguments available to strict constructionists.
WHy isn't it speech?
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:09 AM   #74
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I don't think it's a fundamental right to dress how you want as an absolute.
Not in public.

Anyhow the Constitution, is written primarily as a restraint on the Federal govt.
The Federal govt did not pass any law restricting the right to dress. It's not their domain.
At least not from a strict constructionist/originalist pov.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:10 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully View Post
WHy isn't it speech?
What's he saying?
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