Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Acts innocent and innocuous in themselves may be prohibited, if this is practically made necessary to be done, in order to secure efficient enforcement of valid police regulations covering the same general field. Such inclusion must be reasonably required for the accomplishment of the legislative intent with respect to the ultimate object. It cannot be relied on to sustain a measure of prohibition so loosely or broadly drawn as to bring within its scope matters which are not properly subject to police regulations or prohibitions.
Dade County passed a comprehensive anti-graffiti ordinance, which forbids the sale to minors of spray paint cans and broad- tipped markers ("jumbo markers"). The ordinance provides that minors can possess spray paint or jumbo markers on public property only if accompanied by a responsible adult. On private property, the minor must have the consent of the property owner, but need not be accompanied by an adult. It is a misdemeanor for a minor to possess spray paint or a jumbo marker without the required supervision or consent.
D.P., a juvenile, challenged the facial constitutionality of the provisions of the anti-graffiti ordinance that restrict minors' possession of spray paint or jumbo markers. He alleged that the ordinance was unconstitutional because it violated his due process rights as it imposed a criminal penalty without requiring the state to show criminal intent. D.P. reasoned that these objects had legitimate household uses, so it was impermissible to criminalize simple possession of ordinary household goods.
Were the provisions of the anti-graffiti ordinance that restrict minors' possession of spray paint or jumbo markers unconstitutional?
The court held that the ordinance passed constitutional muster because it did not place an outright ban on the possession of these objects by minors; rather it allowed minors to possess them on public property if accompanied by an adult or on private property with the owner's consent. Also, there were instances where public interest required the prohibition of innocent acts in order to secure enforcement of the laws against evil acts. The court then held that it was permissible for the court to treat minors differently from adults. Finally, the court maintained that the possession of spray paint and jumbo markers did not implicate a fundamental right.