Suspicious Person Ordinances - Due Process Standards; Columbus v. Thompson

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Vol: 4, Issue: 2

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Campbell, Joel R.
due process; criminal law; suspicious person ordinance; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Law
article description
In the absence of circumstances involving First Amendment rights, we are left without guidelines as to the conduct which may be made criminal by local suspicious person ordinances. Because of this lack of adequate standards, a case by case determination of criminal conduct under the various ordinances is necessary. In Thompson the defendant's conduct was questionable and the court found the ordinance unconstitutionally vague. We can only hope that this decision has a sufficient impact upon law enforcement officials and local courts to minimize the injury resulting from vagueness.