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The police power of a state extends beyond health, morals and safety, and comprehends the duty, within constitutional limitations, to protect the well-being and tranquility of a community. A state or city may prohibit acts or things reasonably thought to bring evil or harm to its people.
Appellee police judge found appellant broadcaster guilty of violating Trenton, N.J., Ordinance No. 430(4), which prohibited him from broadcasting out of his sound truck in a loud and raucous manner on public streets. The appellant challenged the constitutionality of the said ordinance, arguing that the provision violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution because it was in contravention of the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assemblage, and freedom to communicate information and opinions to others. He also argued that the provision violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it was too obscure, vague, and indefinite to permit reasonably accurate interpretation.
Was the N.J., Ordinance No. 430(4) violative of the Constitution, thereby warranting the reversal of the appellant’s conviction?
The court found that the provision did not violate freedom of speech, freedom of assemblage, and freedom to communicate information and opinions to others because it provided reasonable protection to homes and businesses from the distracting noises of vehicles with sound amplification devices. On the issue of the violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the court found that the words of the ordinance complied with the requirements of definiteness and clarity. Accordingly, the court affirmed the appellant’s conviction.