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Virginia v. Hicks

539 U.S. 113 (2003)

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Virginia v. Hicks

United States Supreme Court

539 U.S. 113 (2003)

Facts

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA), a political subdivision of the state, owned the private roads within its housing development. The RRHA posted “no trespassing” signs and had a policy with respect to trespassers. The policy authorized the police to serve notice on any nonresidents on the property who did not have a legitimate business or social purpose for being there. The notice was to direct the individuals to leave and to inform them that if they returned, they would be arrested. Kevin Hicks (defendant) did not live at the RRHA development and was given a trespassing notice by police. Despite this notice, Hicks returned and was arrested. Virginia (plaintiff) convicted Hicks of trespassing. Hicks appealed on the ground that the trespassing policy was overbroad under the First Amendment because it prohibited speech that the First Amendment protected. The Virginia Supreme Court granted Hicks’s appeal based on the RRHA’s unwritten rule that any nonresident seeking to hand out flyers on the property needed the RRHA’s permission. Hicks was not handing out flyers or otherwise engaged in protected speech when he was arrested. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

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