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Criminal Law: Harassment – First Amendment

(1) Where a criminal harassment statute, Section 565.090.1(5) makes it illegal to “knowingly make repeated unwanted communication to another person,” the law criminalizes a substantial amount of speech protected by the First Amendment and the trial court’s dismissal of harassment charges against a man for making unwanted telephone calls was proper.

(2) Where 565.090.1(6) makes it illegal to engage in “any other act” with the purpose of frightening, intimidating or causing emotional distress to another person, the trial court erred in declaring the provision unconstitutional because the legislature excluded acts for which there could be good cause, is not unconstitutionally vague, is limited to the sort of acts that often inflict injury and therefore the charges against defendant could proceed.

Judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

State of Missouri v. Vaughn (MLW No. 63718/SC91670– 14 pages) (Missouri Supreme Court, Price Jr., J.) Appealed from circuit court, Scott County, Thomsen, J. (John W. Grantham and Daniel N. McPherson, Jefferson City, for appellant) (Ellen H. Flottman, Columbia, for respondent).

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