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§ 3-904. Unlawful picketing and assembly

West's Annotated Code of MarylandCriminal Law

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Criminal Law (Refs & Annos)
Title 3. Other Crimes Against the Person
Subtitle 9. Surveillance and Other Crimes Against Privacy
MD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-904
Formerly cited as MD CODE Art. 27, § 580A
§ 3-904. Unlawful picketing and assembly
Legislative policy
(a) The General Assembly declares that:
(1) the protection and preservation of the home is the keystone of democratic government;
(2) the public health and welfare and the good order of the community require that members of the community enjoy in their homes a feeling of well-being, tranquility, and privacy and, when absent from their homes, carry with them the sense of security inherent in the assurance that they may return to the enjoyment of their homes;
(3) the practice of picketing before or about residences and dwelling places causes emotional disturbance and distress to the occupants;
(4) the purpose of this practice is to harass the occupants of the residences and dwelling places;
(5) without resort to this practice, full opportunity exists, and under the provisions of this article will continue to exist, for the exercise of freedom of speech and other constitutional rights; and
(6) the provisions of this section are necessary in the public interest to avoid the detrimental results described in this subsection.
Effect of section
(b) This section does not prohibit:
(1) picketing or assembly in connection with a labor dispute, as defined in § 4-301 of the Labor and Employment Article;
(2) picketing in a lawful manner of a person's home when it is also the person's sole place of business; or
(3) holding a meeting or assembly on any premises commonly used for the discussion of subjects of general public interest.
Prohibited--Assembly disrupting home tranquility
(c) A person may not intentionally assemble with another in a manner that disrupts a person's right to tranquility in the person's home.
Penalty
(d)(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $100 or both.
(2) Each day on which a violation of this section occurs is a separate violation.
Injunctive relief
(e) In addition to the penalty provided in subsection (d) of this section, a circuit court:
(1) may enjoin conduct proscribed by this section; and
(2) in the proceeding for injunctive relief, may award damages, including punitive damages, against any person found guilty of violating this section.

Credits

Added by Acts 2002, c. 26, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2002.
Formerly Art. 27, § 580A.

Editors' Notes

LEGISLATIVE NOTES
Revisor's Note (Acts 2002, c. 26):
This section is new language derived without substantive change from former Art. 27, § 580A1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
The introductory language of subsection (a) of this section is revised in the active voice to clarify that it is the General Assembly that is making the declarations contained in subsection (a).
In subsection (a)(5) of this section, the reference to “this article” is retained, although portions of former Article 27 have been revised in other articles. Because the reference to “this article”, in context, applies to the substantive criminal law of the State, and this article comprises substantially all of the substantive criminal provisions formerly contained in Article 27, no substantive change results.
Also in subsection (a)(5) of this section, the former reference to the “terms” of this article is deleted as included in the reference to the “provisions” of this article.
In subsection (a)(6) of this section, the reference to the provisions “of this section” is substituted for the former reference to the provisions “hereinafter enacted” for clarity and accuracy. Correspondingly, the reference to the results “described in this subsection” is substituted for the former reference to the results “herein set forth”.
In subsection (c) of this section, the defined term “person” is substituted for the former references to an “individual” for consistency within this article.
Also in subsection (c) of this section, the former reference to assembling with another “person or persons” is deleted as surplusage and for consistency within this article.
In subsection (d)(1) of this section, the reference to a person who violates this section being guilty “of a misdemeanor” is added to state expressly that which was only implied in the former law. In this State, any crime that was not a felony at common law and has not been declared a felony by statute is considered to be a misdemeanor. See State v. Canova, 278 Md. 483, 490 (1976); Bowser v. State, 136 Md. 342, 345 (1920); Dutton v. State, 123 Md. 373, 378 (1914); and Williams v. State, 4 Md. App. 342, 347 (1968).
Also in subsection (d)(1) of this section, the reference to a person “on conviction” being subject to a fine or imprisonment is added to state expressly that which was only implied in the former law, and for consistency with other penalty provisions in this subtitle and throughout this article.
Also in subsection (d)(1) of this section, the phrase “is subject to” a fine or imprisonment is substituted for the former phrase “shall be punished by” a fine or imprisonment for consistency with other penalty provisions in this subtitle and throughout this article.
In the introductory language of subsection (e) of this section, the phrase “[i]n addition to the penalty provided in subsection (d) of this section” is substituted for the former phrase “[n]otwithstanding the penalties herein provided” for clarity and accuracy.
Also in the introductory language of subsection (e) of this section, the reference to a “circuit court” is substituted for the former reference to a “court of general equity jurisdiction” to reflect the merger of law and equity effected by Md. Rule 2-301, which mandates “one form of action known as the ‘civil action”’.
In subsection (e)(1) of this section, the reference to enjoining conduct proscribed by this “section” is substituted for the former reference to enjoining conduct proscribed by this “article” for consistency within subsection (e) of this section.
In subsection (e)(2) of this section, the reference to “the proceeding for injunctive relief” is substituted for the former reference to “any such proceeding” for clarity.
Also in subsection (e)(2) of this section, the reference to any person found guilty of “violating” this section is substituted for the former reference to any person found guilty of “actions made unlawful by” this section for brevity and consistency with language used in subsection (e)(1) of this section.
Former Art. 27, § 580A2 is deleted as unconstitutional in light of the ruling of the Court of Appeals in State v. Schuller, 280 Md. 305 (1977). The Criminal Law Article Review Committee notes, for consideration by the General Assembly, that the Court in State v. Schuller found that former Art. 27, § 580A2 was invalid on its face as violating the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution. The court also found that former Art. 27, § 580A2, when coupled with the exemption provided for labor-related picketing contained in former Art. 27, § 580A4(1) (revised as subsection (b)(1) of this section), deprived persons of the right to equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution. The Attorney General reached a similar conclusion in a letter of advice to the Criminal Law Article Review Committee, in which the Attorney General stated that removal of § 580A2 was imperative, and further recommended deletion of the balance of § 580A as well due to the stated constitutional defects. The Attorney General also noted that more limited legislative regulation of residential picketing might be possible under federal precedent. See Letter of Advice from Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. to Judge Alan M. Wilner, pp. 8-10 (October 17, 2000).
Defined term: “Person” § 1-101
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
Derivation:
Former Art. 27, § 580A, related to picketing or assembly, generally, repealed by Acts 2002, c. 26, § 1.
MD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-904, MD CRIM LAW § 3-904
Current through all legislation from the 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly
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