State v. Brand

442 N.E.2d 805 (1981)

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State v. Brand

Ohio Court of Appeals
442 N.E.2d 805 (1981)

Facts

James Brand (defendant) attended a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, featuring Rosalyn Carter, then the first lady of the United States. During the speech, Brand interrupted Carter by shouting statements about the Iranian revolution and the United States’ foreign policy toward Iran. Brand refused to quiet down, and he was forcibly escorted out by police. Brand was charged with violating Ohio Revised Code 2917.12 (the statute), which prohibited conduct that disrupted or substantially interfered with lawful assemblies. Evidence submitted at trial showed that Carter stopped speaking for approximately 45 seconds during Brand’s outburst. The trial judge instructed the jury on the definition of substantial, stating that it means “a strong possibility as contrasted with a remote or insignificant one that a certain result may occur” (the jury instruction). This definition was pulled from another Ohio statute defining the term substantial risk. Brand was convicted by a jury. On appeal, Brand alleged two assignments of error related to the constitutionality of the statute. Specifically, Brand argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad on its face and unconstitutional as applied in his case. Brand also argued that the court erred by issuing the jury instruction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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