JONES v. FLORIDAAnnotate this Case
419 U.S. 1081 (1974)
U.S. Supreme Court
JONES v. FLORIDA , 419 U.S. 1081 (1974)
419 U.S. 1081
George H. JONES
State of FLORIDA.
Supreme Court of the United States
December 23, 1974
The appeal is dismissed for want of a properly presented federal question.
Mr. Justice BRENNAN, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS and Mr. Justice MARSHALL join, dissenting.
The Court dismisses this appeal for want of a properly presented federal question. That disposition is utterly indefensible on the record of this case.
Appellant was arrested for violating Florida Stat. 847.05, which provides:
- 'Any person who shall publicly use or utter any indecent or obscene language shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. . . .'
After the arrest, appellant was searched and marihuana was found in his possession. Appellant was then charged with using indecent or obscene language, resisting arrest, and possession of marihuana. Prior to trial, he moved to dismiss the information on the ground that on its face Florida Stat. 847.05 violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments and therefore the arrest pursuant to 847.05 was unlawful and the ensuing search and seizure of the marihuana invalid. The motion was denied. At trial by jury, the marihuana was admitted in evidence and appellant was convicted solely on the charge of possession of marihuana. The conviction was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court pursuant to Art. V, 3(b)(1) of the Floria Constitution, which directs the Florida Supreme Court to 'hear appeals . . . from orders of trial courts . . . passing on the validity of a state statute. . . .' The Florida Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of 847.05, finding that the statutory language itself was 'sufficient to convey to a person of common understanding its prohibition.' 293 So.2d 33, 34. In view of that holding, the Florida Supreme Court found it unnecessary to decide whether the marihuana conviction could stand if 847.05 were unconstitutional and the initial arrest therefore unlawful.
Section 847.05 punishes only spoken words and, as construed by the Florida Supreme Court, is facially unconstitutional because not limited in application 'to punish only unprotected speech' but is 'susceptible of application to protected expression.' Gooding v. Wilson, [419 U.S. 1081 , 1083]