A criminal statute that sweeps within its prohibition a real and substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech will not be invalidated under the overbreadth doctrine if regulation of the protected speech is constitutionally permissible. Criminal Law - Statutes - Overbreadth - Saving Construction - In General. A threat to harm another person's business or financial condition does not constitute a "true threat." Criminal Law - Statutes - Overbreadth - Conduct - Amount of Constitutionally Protected Conduct. A criminal statute is not unconstitutionally overbroad if it may be construed so that it does not sweep within its prohibition a real and substantial amount of protected speech. Constitutional Law - Freedom of Speech - Scope - In General. Whether a criminal statute impermissibly chills or burdens constitutionally protected conduct depends upon whether the statute's prohibition of protected conduct is real and substantial in comparison to its plainly legitimate sweep. Criminal Law - Statutes - Overbreadth - Speech - Amount of Constitutionally Protected Speech. 2d 830 (1973).[4, 5] In considering an overbreadth challenge, we first consider whether the challenged statute reaches constitutionally protected speech or expression and whether it proscribes a real and substantial amount of speech. Although it is possible to conceive of circumstances in which application of the statute would be unreasonable, that alone will not render it unconstitutional. Stephenson asserts that the statute sweeps too broadly and could encompass even a threat to file and run against a public official to coerce a decision to the threatener's liking. Stephenson threatened harm to the judges' financial conditions, not their health or safety. A Substantial Amount of Speech The extent to which a statute "chills or burdens constitutionally protected conduct" turns on whether the statute's prohibition against protected speech or conduct is "real and substantial" compared to its plainly legitimate sweep. 794, 950 P.2d 38threats listed in subsection (j), threats of harm to a person's business, financial condition, or personal relationships, all enjoy some constitutional protection. Huff, 111 Wn.2d at 927.[12, 13] The statute here could apply to communications made in either a public or private forum. See also Huff, 111 Wn.2d at 927 (because telephone harassment ordinance regulates speech of a private nature, nonpublic forum standard applies). Thus, we apply the standards for private speech. The governmental regulation of speech in a non-public forum does not violate the First Amendment if "'the distinctions drawn are reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum and are viewpoint neutral.'" City of Seattle v. 1990) ("true" threat is one where a reasonable person would foresee that the listener will believe she will be subject to physical violence upon her person). Any regulations must be viewpoint neutral and reasonable as to any time, place, or manner restrictions. 794, 950 P.2d 38forums traditionally used by the public for assembly, speech, or debate.
Consequently, the definition of threat in RCW 9A.04.110(25)(j) encompasses both protected and unprotected speech, and Stephenson's notice of intent was entitled to some First Amendment protection. Halstien, 122 Wn.2d at 123; Luvene, 118 Wn.2d at 841. Consequently, we conclude that RCW 9A.04.110(25)(j)'s prohibitions encompass a "real and substantial" amount of protected speech. Constitutionally Permissible Prohibition The government may regulate even protected speech in some circumstances. The amount of permissible regulation depends upon whether the speech is public or private; the First Amendment affords more protection to speech in a public forum, a place traditionally devoted to assembly and debate, and to channels of communication used by the public at large for assembly and speech. But as the court in Ivan noted, this type of speech "is more appropriately analyzed as taking place in a non-public forum because of the private nature of the proscribed behavior; the statute contemplates private communications between individuals." Ivan, 71 Wn. The sender of messages designed to frighten public officers into making official decisions based upon fears and concerns for their personal welfare, rather than upon the law or appropriate considerations of public benefit, generally will not disseminate the messages using Jan.
A criminal statute may be unconstitutionally overbroad if it sweeps within its prohibition a real and substantial amount of protected speech or expressive conduct. Criminal Law - Statutes - Overbreadth - Application - Rare Occurrence.
STEPHENSON, Appellant. Criminal Law - Statutes - Overbreadth - Test.
City of Bellevue, 132 Wn.2d 103, 127, 937 P.2d 154, 943 P.2d 1358 (1997). The plain language of RCW 9A.76.180 suggests several purposes. To take wrongful action as an official against anyone or anything, or wrongfully withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding; or9. First, it protects a more significant governmental interest than the coercion ordinance in Ivan.
To testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or8. 794, 950 P.2d 38The statute at issue here is distinguishable for several reasons.