Is NC’s Disorderly Conduct at Schools Statute Unconstitutionally Vague?

I started wondering about that question after reading a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Carolina Youth Action Project v. Wilson, 60 F.4th 770 (4th Cir. 2023) (summarized here). There, the court struck down two South Carolina state laws aimed in large part at regulating conduct and speech in and around schools. Those laws are similar to our version of disorderly conduct by disrupting schools. This post examines the holding of Carolina Youth Action Project and its potential implications for North Carolina law.

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Cyberbullying Law Upheld Over First Amendment Challenge

The court of appeals just upheld North Carolina’s cyberbullying statute over a First Amendment challenge. The result is especially noteworthy because it contrasts with a ruling last year in a similar case in New York. But the opinion does leave at least one important issue open.

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Stalking Statute Not Unconstitutionally Vague

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected a vagueness challenge to the federal stalking statute. Because of the similarity between the federal statute and North Carolina’s stalking law, I thought the decision was worth mentioning here. The federal stalking statute makes it a crime to “engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to … Read more

Mello and “Loitering for Drugs” Ordinances

Can a municipality adopt an ordinance that criminalizes loitering for the purpose of drug activity? I’ve been asked that question several times, and in fact, a number of North Carolina municipalities have such ordinances. See, e.g., Charlotte Code of Ordinances § 15-23; Hickory Code of Ordinances § 29-22(d). The answer is generally yes, though such … Read more