A violation of the texas law in which gregory lee johnson was convicted for desecrating a flag

Background of the case[ edit ] Johnson to right with attorney Kunstler, c.

A violation of the texas law in which gregory lee johnson was convicted for desecrating a flag

After publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law. This case presents the question whether his conviction is consistent with the First Amendment.

We hold that it is not. The demonstrators marched through the Dallas streets, chanting political slogans and stopping at several corporate locations to stage "die-ins" intended to dramatize the consequences of nuclear war. On several occasions they spray-painted the walls of buildings and overturned potted plants, but Johnson himself took no part in such activities.

Texas v. Johnson - Wikipedia

He did, however, accept an American flag handed to him by a fellow protestor who had taken it from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings.

The demonstration ended in front of Dallas City Hall, where Johnson unfurled the American flag, doused it with kerosene, and set it on fire. While the flag burned, the protestors chanted, "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.

No one was physically injured or threatened with injury, though several witnesses testified that they had been seriously offended by the flag burning. The only criminal offense with which he was charged was the desecration of a venerated object in violation of Tex.

The act for which appellant was convicted was clearly "speech" contemplated by the First Amendment. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that neither interest supported his conviction.

Therefore, that very same government cannot carve out a symbol of unity and prescribe a set of approved messages to be associated with that symbol when it cannot mandate the status or feeling the symbol purports to represent. And in fact, the court emphasized, the flag burning in this particular case did not threaten such a reaction.

One cannot equate "serious offense" with incitement to breach the peace. The court also stressed that another Texas statute, Tex. We granted certiorari, U. II Johnson was convicted of flag desecration for burning the flag, rather than for uttering insulting words.

The First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of "speech," but we have long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word.

While we have rejected the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled "speech" whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea, United States v.

In deciding whether particular conduct possesses sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment into play, we have asked whether [a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it.

United States, U. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc.

A violation of the texas law in which gregory lee johnson was convicted for desecrating a flag

Especially pertinent to this case are our decisions recognizing the communicative nature of conduct relating to flags. Attaching a peace sign to the flag, Spence, supra, at U.

See also Smith v.

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That we have had little difficulty identifying an expressive element in conduct relating to flags should not be surprising. The very purpose of a national flag is to serve as a symbol of our country; it is, one might say, "the one visible manifestation of two hundred years of nationhood.The First Amendment - The First Amendment is the first section of the Bill of Rights and is often considered the most important part of the U.S Constitution because it guarantees the citizens of United States the essential personal freedoms of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly and the freedom to petition the Government.

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After publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law. This case presents the question whether his conviction is consistent with the First Amendment.

We hold that it is not. After burning the U.S. flag as an act of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law.

Islam — The Religion of the Easily Offended

Texas v. Johnson's Flag burning After publicly burning the American flag, the Defendant, Gregory Lee Johnson (Defendant), was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law.

The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction. More immediately, the decision inspired Congress to rush through passage of the Flag Protection. Facts Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas.

TEXAS v. JOHNSON - FIRE