MSU Ordinance Struck Down By Supreme Court

An MSU ordinance that states "No person shall disrupt the normal activity or molest the property of any person, firm, or agency while that person, firm or agency is carrying out service, activity or agreement for or with the University" was struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court as being too broad on its face and for criminalizing a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech. The challenge to the school ordinance arose out of an incident that occurred in 2008 wherein an MSU law student, Jared Scott Rapp yelled at a parking enforcement employee for giving him a ticket, demanded his name and photographed him with his phone. As a result of his actions, Mr. Rapp was convicted of violating the ordinance, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to probation, community service, participation in a behavior modification program as well as fines and costs.

The Michigan Supreme Court found the phrase "disrupt the normal activity" to be facially overbroad because it does not specify the types of disruptions that are prohibited and criminalizes verbal disruptions. Furthermore, the verbal disruptions made criminal by the ordinance are not limited to fighting words or obscene language. The Court noted "this ordinance allows it to be enforced against anyone who disrupts in any way anyone carrying out any activity for or with MSU." If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contact our office and speak with a criminal defense attorney today.