A newly enacted criminal statute provided, in its entirety, “No person shall utter to another person in a public place any annoying, disturbing, or unwelcome language.” A man followed an elderly woman for three blocks down a public street, yelling in her ear offensive four-letter words. The woman repeatedly asked the man to leave her alone, but he refused.
Is the man likely to prevail if prosecuted for his actions?
(A) No, he will be convicted under the criminal statute.
(B) Yes, because speech of the sort described here may not be punished by the state because of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
(C) Yes, because, although his speech may be punished by the state, the state may not do so under this statute.
(D) Yes, because the average user of a public street would consider the man’s speech and actions to be amusing and ridiculous rather than “annoying, disturbing, or unwelcome.”
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