Friday, October 20, 2017

Minister May Move Ahead With "As Applied" Challenge to Disturbing-The-Peace Ordinance

In Roy v City of Monroe, (WD LA, Oct. 19, 2017), a Louisiana federal district court allowed plaintiff Clarence Roy to move ahead with an "as applied" First Amendment challenge to Monroe, Louisiana's disturbing-the-peace ordinance.  Roy is a minister who regularly preaches near a bar whose patrons are predominately gays and lesbians.  Police issued a summons for disturbing the peace to Roy when a woman complained that Roy had called her names, told her she was going to hell, and that her father was "the devil."  The court said in part:
In essence, the validity of Roy’s First Amendment as-applied claim “hinges on probable cause for [his] [summons]—a fact question for the jury.” ....  Accordingly, this claim cannot be resolved on summary judgment.... If Sergeant Booth had probable cause to arrest Roy under §12:153, “there could be no First Amendment violation.”...  However, if a jury finds there was no probable cause for Roy’s arrest, his First Amendment claim may be considered as well.
The court however dismissed a facial challenge, as well as a due process challenge, to the same Ordinance.