Bell v. Chicago Police Chief Keating

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
First Amendment
Case Number: 
No. 11-2408
Decision Date: 
September 10, 2012
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Reversed and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in dismissing on lack of standing grounds, plaintiff's action alleging that Chicago's ordinance (Chicago Municipal Code, section 8-4-010(d)), which prohibits acts of disorderly conduct when individual knowingly fails to obey lawful police order under circumstances where three or more other persons are committing acts of disorderly conduct in immediate vicinity, and where said acts are likely to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, violated plaintiff's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff had standing to bring instant constitutional challenge where he had previously been arrested under said ordinance, and where he alleged that potential for future enforcement of ordinance had chilling effect on his willingness to participate in lawful protests and assemblies. Moreover, Ct. found that ordinance was overbroad and void for vagueness with respect to giving police authority to disburse individuals on basis of "serious inconvenience, annoyance or alarm," since ordinance: (1) substantially encumbered political expression vis-a vis ordinance's legitimate scope; and (2) failed to identify what types of conduct would trigger lawful dispersal order and allowed for arbitrary enforcement.