CAPSTONE CASE CHAPLINSKY V NEW HAMPSHIRE 4
CAPSTONECASE CHAPLINSKY V NEW HAMPSHIRE
Reviewof Capstone case Chaplinsky v New Hampshire
Thecase is presented on Chaplinsky a Jehovah Witness devotee, for usingannoying words against a city Marshall, whom he labeled a ‘Goddamned racketeer.’ Under the first amendment of the United Statesconstitution, such annoying words do not have protection (Rollins& Ronald, 1982).However, in New Hampshire there are laws prohibiting individuals fromusing offensive words on another person and arrests are done for suchoffenders. In such a case, the bone of contestation was whether, hehad violated his liberty of freedom of speech as depicted in theFirst amendment act.
Underthe first amendment act, such words are narrowly covered by thesupreme courts of New Hampshire. ‘Fighting words’ and otherlanguage meant to inflict injury, incite or breach the peace havebeen deemed to have little social value and the cost of pursuingorder and justice surpasses their effects. However, under othercircumstances, persons have freedom of speech it is not as absoluteto the extent of using ‘fighting words’ as had been used by theChaplinsky (Schmalleger & Dolatowski, 2010).
Inthis case, although the language used by Chaplinsky was harsh to thevictim, its effect and intent was small the words used did not carrymuch weight create anger and a possible confrontation. However, theuse of such rhetoric language should be discouraged through smallfines or arbitration by the court (Schmalleger & Dolatowski,2010). In the day to day social interactions, people use diverselanguage that is often laden with negative criticism, abuse and namecalling (Rollins& Ronald, 1982).
Althoughsuch aspects are wrong in the society, including them in theconstitution may be costly and time consuming in prosecution theyare minor offenses that involve a great number of persons. Thegovernments should assess the intent and characteristics of suchlanguages to distinguish what words are permissible and which cantrigger violence since it is not always ‘fighting words’ areprovocative, in some cases such words could have a positive elementof communicating ideas(Rollins & Ronald, 1982).
RollinsM. Perkins and Ronald N. Boyce, (1982), ‘Criminal Law,’ 3rded. Mineola, NY: Foundation Press, p. 12.
Schmalleger,F., Hall, D. E. & Dolatowski, J. J. (2010). ‘Criminal lawtoday,’ (4th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Learning.