Cohen v. California Facts: On April 26, 1968, the defendant was observes in the Los Angeles County Courthouse in the corridor outside of the municipal court wearing a jacket bearing the words “Fuck the Draft.” There were women and children present in the corridor. The defendant was arrested and given 30 days imprisonment due to violating the part of California Penal Code 415 prohibiting, “maliciously and willfully disturbing the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person…by… offensive conduct…” Cohen said he wore the jacket as a means of informing the public of the depth of his feelings against the Vietnam War and the draft. He did not engage in, nor did anyone as the result of his conduct in fact commit or threaten to commit any act of violence. He did not make any loud of unusual noise, nor was there any evidence that he uttered any sound prior to arrest. The Issue: Is the California Penal Code 415 violating the First Amendment? Was Cohen’s right to free speech violated?
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Cohen, Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, John Marshall Harlan II, CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE