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Name: In re Curtis S.
Case #: D062081
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/19/2013

Finding that a minor violated Penal Code section 415, prohibiting a person from disturbing another person with loud and unreasonable noise, did not violate the First Amendment. The minor was charged with theft and other offenses after he grabbed a cell phone from another minor and ran. A woman who attempted to stop the minor’s flight was subjected to loud, angry, profane, threatening speech by him. On appeal the minor challenged the finding he violated section 415, claiming his conduct was protected speech. Held: Affirmed. The minor’s claim is not a pure legal question; it requires a fact-based analysis. Thus, the minor forfeited his claim by failing to raise it below. Nonetheless, the court addressed the issue. Section 415, subdivision (2) makes it a crime to maliciously and wilfully disturb another person by loud and unreasonable noise. “Loud noise” includes loud communications under circumstances where there is a clear and present danger of immediate violence, which noise is designed to disrupt lawful endeavors. Such speech, which was exhibited by the minor here, is not within the range protected by the First Amendment.