New York’s Appellate Courts struck a blow for justice yesterday when they struck down a New York Harassment law called “aggravated harassment.” The Court held that speech that is merely annoying or alarming is not illegal – the Court ruled that the law was unconstitutionally vague and over broad on its face.
The law read that it was a felony to communicate with someone “in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”
In striking down the law – the higher court ruled that “any proscription of pure speech must be sharply limited to words which, by their utterance alone, inflict injury or tend naturally to evoke immediate violence.”
Colorado’s Harassment Law Is Often Charged In Weak Domestic Violence Cases
A common practice during arguments between married or committed individuals is to argue – to shout – to use epithets – to call or text ugly words. These common practices can become fodder for arrests by police officers compelled to decide if they violate Colorado’s Harassment Laws under 18-9-111.
…I have watched as harassment is routinely charged in the weakest, most vague and otherwise unchargeable cases. This charged is routinely called a “kitchen sink” crime like careless driving in the area of traffic cases. It is charged when there just isn’t anything else that you could be charged with. But the truth is this – if harassment is charged as “an act of domestic violence” what follows after the mandatory arrest – can be life changing -restraining orders, domestic violence treatment, probation, and the loss of second amendment rights.
Colorado Harassment Law – 18-9-111
In Colorado, harassment is charged when the police and the DA believe one of the following sections has been violated:
A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:
(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact; or
(b) In a public place directs obscene language or makes an obscene gesture to or at another person; or
(c) Follows a person in or about a public place; or
(e) Initiates communication with a person, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system that is obscene; or
(f) Makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate conversation; or
(g) Makes repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invade the privacy of another and interfere in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence or other private property; or
(h) Repeatedly insults, taunts, challenges, or makes communications in offensively coarse language to, another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.
(1.5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “obscene” means a patently offensive description of ultimate sexual acts or solicitation to commit ultimate sexual acts, whether or not said ultimate sexual acts are normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, or excretory functions.