Texas V. Johnson

In: Historical Events

Submitted By MilkyWhiteKid
Words 327
Pages 2
The reason for the case starts with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade marching around Dallas, TX during the 1984 National Republican Convention. The group was marching through the streets protesting President Reagan’s policies. While the group was mostly marching because of the convention; there were also several companies that they were targeting. When at one of the companies one member took the American flag and handed it to Gregory Lee Johnson who then proceeded to burn the flag. He was then arrested for desecration of property on a 1 year sentence and two-thousand dollar fine. Johnson then appealed to the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas but lost. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would then see his case. This was the highest court in Texas that would see Criminal Appeals he then won on a 5-4 majority. The reasoning that the court used for overturning was not the fact of vandalism, but that it’s his freedom of speech. When taking this case into consideration; the looked at whether freedom of speech covered non-speech acts, if Johnson was using expressive conduct when burning the flag. They decided that it did indeed did cover non-verbal because of cases like Stromberg v. California and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. They also decided that it was indeed expressive behavior because he did in front the Republic National Convention with overly expressive and apparent behavior. I think that while the case for Johnson makes sense it should be by no means that he is let off the hook. He should probably be found for conspiracy. Considering it was a communist group and it was only a decade or so from the height of the cold war. I do think though that he did have a right to express his opinion, but in a way like that should not be allowed, and he did not even have to serve his for stealing and…...

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