Legal Issues And Judicial Reasoning Of Every Case

2540 Words11 Pages
Majerle Nielson
Take-home Assignment #1
Your answers to the questions below should contain a description of the facts, legal issues and judicial reasoning of every case under consideration.

1. With R.A.V. v. St. Paul we learned that there are limits on what behavior the government can criminalize. The law at issue in this case was St. Paul’s “Bias Motivated Crime Ordinance.” R.A.V. clearly violated this law. Why did the Supreme Court overturn his conviction? How might the legislature have written this law differently so as to effectively punish behavior like R.A.V.’s? For this answer you should re-draft the St. Paul ordinance so that it can fulfill this purpose and explain how your draft is different from the used to prosecute R.A.V. in this case.
On June 21, 1990, R.A.V. and multiple other teenagers allegedly made a cross using chair legs. They then burned the cross on the lawn of a black family across the street from where R.A.V. was staying. R.A.V. was charged under an ordinance of St. Paul. This ordinance was used to deter hateful crimes and to encourage peace within the neighborhood. R.A.V. wanted the charges dropped against him claiming the ordinance violated his First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court needed to decide if the ordinance is overly broad and content discriminatory in violation of the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of R.A.V. and overturned R.A.V.’s conviction. The Court ruled in his favor for
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