False Alarm

False Alarm

At a college football game, someone makes a loud noise like a banging gun and yells, “He has a gun!” In response, spectators in the immediate area panic and begin running for the exit. Six people are trampled and two are seriously injured. During the investigation, campus police learn that nobodyhad a gun; the panic was the result of two young men playing a practical joke. Answer the following questions:

a. Which test would you apply to determine if this speech was protected by the First Amendment?

b. What if someone either made the gunshot sound or only shouted, “He has a gun!” but it produced the same result? Would this be protected?

c. What other factors would you consider as you write your report for this case? What, if anything, would you recommend to your prosecutor?


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