Relevant Facts And Relevant Laws, From Highest To Lowest,
concerning Northfield, Minnesota cop’s attack on Street Preachers who were acting in conformity with (1) God’s instructions while behaving according to the grace of God (thereby doing good to and benefitting their neighbors) and (2) the law of man.
As to speech in the public forum the job of peace officers is not to shut it down when someone complains; their job is to enforce the law by (1) protecting street preachers and others speaking in the public forum and (2) informing people who would disrupt and/or violate the rights of street preachers of the law concerning free speech in America. I street preached in Austin, Texas for 20+ years. The police in Austin understood and enforced the law. They protected us (and others speaking in the public forum) on numerous occasions. The Minneapolis Police Officer in the following video understands that his job is to protect those involved in First Amendment protected speech:
Left click here to go to OPBC Street Preaching Page.
Click here to go to the updates on events following this initial encounter with the police in Northfield.
- I. Relevant Facts (including link to audio of actual events)
II. Highest Law (God’s Law)
III. United States Constitution and relevant cases
IV. Constitution of the State of Minnesota
V. Northfield, Minnesota Code of Ordinances and Charter
Click here to see the briefs, final decision, etc. of a case handled by Attorney Jerald Finney which involved the issue of free speech in a public forum.
I. Relevant Facts
Pastor Jason Cooley and some other men were street-preaching in Bridge Square Park in Northfield, Minnesota on December 22, 2013.
Bridge Square Park is a city park in Northfield and is therefore, for speech purposes, a free speech area according to the Highest Law as well as the United States Constitution. (To verify this, see http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/Index.aspx?NID=284; see also, Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE V. OFFENSES INVOLVING PUBLIC MORALS >> Sec. 50-116. Curfew for minors…. Public parks and walkways includes Sechler Park; Odd Fellows Park; Central Park; Babcock Park; Way Park; Riverside Park; Cherry Park; Sibley Marsh; Sibley Swale; Bridge Square; Riverwalkway from Second Street to Fifth Street; River Pedestrian Bridge; and any park, playground or walkway maintained by the city [Emphasis mine]. (Relevant Northfield ordinances, including this one, are reproduced below. See also, the case excerpts below which interpret the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as to speech in a public forum.))
Hear the unconstitutional actions following the above mentioned street preaching of a police officer in Northfield, Minnesota on December 22, 2013 in Northfield, Minnesota: Street Preachers Rights Attempted To Be Chilled By the Police. After contacting the Northfield Mayor, City Council Members, the City Attorney, the Chief of Police, it appeared that the misguided actions of the officer in the encounter will not occur again. Certain citizens were happy about the results. Others mounted a misguided plan, which they never brought to fruition, probably because they learned the truth about freedom of speech in the public forum and knew that if they proceeded, they were doomed to failure and, also, would be the target of civil action by the speakers if they wanted to pursue civil action. Read the rest of the story at: Trials and Tribulations of Old Paths Baptist Church ‘No Small Stir’ Street Preaching Ministry.
Links to other relevant sermons preached by Pastor Jason Cooley follow:
Submission To God In Trials (122913)-(Click here to listen to Youtube version)
Reasons For Submission To God In Trials (122913)-(Click here to listen to longer Youtube version which includes other matters)
Readings From The Lives Of Virginia Baptist Ministers (122913)(Regarding persecuted ministers in the colony of Virginia prior to the adoption of the United States Constitution)
“We ought to obey God rather than men.”
For more detailed information on this see the “Separation of Church and State Law” (jeraldfinney.wordpress.com). Particularly important entries on that website include”:
2. The book, God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Covers the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state, the history of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence, and Union of Church and State in America which betrays God.)
a. Online version at: https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/
b. PDF at: https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/god-betrayedseparation-of-church-and-state-the-biblical-principles-and-the-american-application/3812-2/
3. Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses:
a. Available in online form at https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/
b. and PDF form at https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/)(Covers Romans 13, 1 Peter 2.13, and other verses often cited out of context by both religious and secular heretics and apostates in order to justify giving unto Caesar the things that are God’s.).
III. United States Constitution
Fortunately, the highest law of the land is a statement of God’s law concerning freedom of religion (or soul liberty, or separation of church and state), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. For a complete explanation of this matter, see the resources above. Two resources on the above mentioned website cover the history of the First Amendment:
1. An Abridged History of the First Amendment (https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/)
2. “History of Religious Freedom in America,” (https://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/)
First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“SECTION 1.All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
“SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
1. Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711, 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2959; 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947). “In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State.’ Reynolds v. United States, supra at 164…” (Ibid., pp. 15-16). [Emphasis mine.]
Everson stated the original purpose of the religion clause—separation of church and state (not separation of God and state)—but added a twist that has been used to do something the First Amendment never intended and that is to remove God from all civil government matters (separating God and state), thereby creating a pluralistic state that is run to a great degree by the principles of the god of this world. However, the First Amendment and those believers in Christ who wish to engage the public through speech by preaching the Gospel in the public square stand in the way of total dominance by the forces of evil.
2. … The freedom of speech and press are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties which are secured to all persons by the Fourteenth Amendment against abridgment by the state. Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 95, 60 S.Ct. 736, 740, 84 L.ED. 1093 (1940).
3. Freedom of speech includes not only the spoken word, but also speech-related conduct, such as picketing, the wearing of arm bands and, in some recent highly publicized cases, flag burning as a type of political protest. Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 756.
4. “Whenever the title of streets and parks may rest, they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions. Such use of the streets and public places has, from ancient times, been a part of the privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties of citizens. The privilege of a citizen of the United States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the interest of all; it is not absolute, but relative, and must be exercised in subordination to the general comfort and convenience, and in consonance with peace and good order; but it must not, in the guise of regulation, be abridged or denied.’ Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 515-516, 59 S.Ct. 954, 964, 83 L.Ed. 1423 (opinion of Mr. Justice Roberts, joined by Mr. Justice Black). Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Ala., 394 U.S. 147, 152, 89 S.Ct. 935, 22 L.Ed.2d 162 (1969).”
5. [Government control of access to its property, public forums, littering] The extent to which the government can control access to its property for expressive purposes depends on the nature of the forums. Reed v. State, 762 S.W.2d 640, 643 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1988, pet. Ref’d) citing Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, 473 U.S. 788, 105 S.Ct. 3489, 87 L.Ed. 567 (1985); Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). Public forums are those areas which traditionally have been devoted to assembly and public debate, such as public streets, sidewalks, and parks. Id. “[The] Streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.” Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940).
Although a municipality may enact regulations in the interest of the public safety, health, welfare, or convenience, these may not abridge the individual liberties secured by the constitution to those who wish to speak, write, print, or circulate information or opinion. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). In Schneider, one appellant was charged with violating a law criminalizing the circulation and distribution of handbills designed, the city said, to prevent littering of the streets even though he did not litter himself—those to whom he handed the literature threw it down. The court said that the city could achieve the same thing without violating appellant’s freedom of speech by punishing those who threw the literature into the streets.
Thornton v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940):
“A threat … is inherent in a penal statute … which does not aim specifically at evils within the allowable area of State control but, on the contrary, sweeps within its ambit other activities that in ordinary circumstances constitute an exercise of freedom of speech or of the press. The existence of such a statute, which readily lends itself to harsh and discriminatory enforcement by local prosecuting officials, against particular groups deemed to merit their displeasure, results in a continuous and pervasive restraining on all freedom of discussion that might reasonably be regarded as within its purview….
“Freedom of discussion, if it would fulfill its historic function in this nation, must embrace all issues about which information is needed or appropriate to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of their period….
“[The] streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.”
6. [Evils within allowable are of state control]
Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1; 69 S. Ct. 894; 93 L. Ed. 1131; 1949 U.S. LEXIS 2400 (1949):
“Freedom of speech, though not absolute, is protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.
“The vitality of civil and political institutions in our society depends on free discussion. As Chief Justice Hughes wrote in De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 365, it is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes.
“Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. See Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 262; Craig v. Harney, 331 U.S. 367, 373. There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. For the alternative would lead to standardization of ideas either by legislatures, courts, or dominant political or community groups.
“The ordinance as construed by the trial court seriously invaded this province. It permitted conviction of petitioner if his speech stirred people to anger, invited public dispute, or brought about a condition of unrest. A conviction resting on any of those grounds may not stand.”
Substantive evils within the allowable are of state control are obstructing or unreasonable interfering with ingress to and egress for enumerated public places, blocking sidewalks, obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, and engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546, 548-549 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) citing Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971) and Cameron v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 611, 88 S.Ct. 1335, 20 L.Ed.2d 182 (1968). Evil within allowable areas of state control include molestation or interference with person and vehicles, obstruction of pedestrians and automobiles, threatening or intimidating or coercing anyone, making loud noises, unpeaceful and disorderly conduct, acts of violence, and breaches of the peace. See, e.g., Carlson v. California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940), Thornhill v. State of Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 60 S.Ct. 736 (1940), Olvera v. State, 806 S.W. 2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). See p. 25 of brief.
Municipal legislation meant to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property is constitutional so long as the legislation does not abridge constitutional liberty of one to impart information through speech and distribution of literature. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 160, 60 S.Ct. 146, 150, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). Crimes may be punished by law, but the freedom of speech and the press may not be abridged in the guise of regulations by the governing entity to prevent littering, fraud, or to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience. Id. While declaring laws unconstitutional which infringe upon first amendment rights, the Court has made clear what a city may do to punish evils within the allowable areas of state control: “[A] city is free to prevent people from blocking sidewalks, obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, or engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. It can do so through the enactment and enforcement of ordinances directed with reasonable specificity toward the conduct to be prohibited.” Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971).
7. [Disorderly conduct] In Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518, 92 S. Ct. 1103, 31 L. Ed. 2d 408, a defendant was found guilty of using opprobrious words and abusive language in violation of a Georgia statute. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the statute unconstitutionally vague and broad and set aside defendant’s conviction. “The constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech forbid the States to punish the use of words or [*522] language not within “narrowly limited classes of speech.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 571 (1942).Even as to such a class, however, because “the line between speech unconditionally guaranteed and speech which may legitimately be regulated, suppressed, or punished is finely drawn,” Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 525 (1958), “in every case the power to regulate must be so exercised as not, in attaining a permissible end, unduly to infringe the protected freedom,” Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 (1940).” Government may pass laws which punish “fighting words. In Chaplinsky, we sustained a conviction under Chapter 378, § 2, of the Public Laws of New Hampshire, which provided: “No person shall address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name . . . . ‘Chaplinsky was convicted for addressing to another on a public sidewalk the words, ‘You are a _ _ _ damned racketeer,’ and ‘a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists.’ Chaplinsky challenged the constitutionality of the statute as inhibiting freedom of expression because it was vague and indefinite. The Supreme Court of New Hampshire, however, ‘long before [*523] the words for which Chaplinsky was convicted,’ sharply limited the statutory language ‘offensive, derisive or annoying word’ to ‘fighting” words:
“No words were forbidden except such as have a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remark is addressed. . . .
“The test is what men of common intelligence would understand would be words likely to cause an average addressee to fight. . . . Derisive and annoying words can be taken as coming within the purview of the statute . . . only when they have this characteristic of plainly tending to excite the addressee to a breach of the peace. . . .
“The dictionary definitions of ‘opprobrious’ and ‘abusive’ give them greater reach than “fighting” words. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961) defined ‘opprobrious’ as ‘conveying or intended to convey disgrace,’ and ‘abusive’ as including ‘harsh insulting language.’ Georgia appellate decisions have construed § 26-6303 to apply to utterances that, although within these definitions, are not ‘fighting’ words as Chaplinsky defines them.”
8. The state of Louisiana both directly [see Cox v. State of Louisiana, 379 U.S. 559, 574, 85 S.Ct. 476, 486 (1965)] and indirectly [see Cox] attempted unsuccessfully to deny freedom of speech to picketers. The United States Supreme Court ruled against the state in both cases. Louisiana indirectly tried to abridge appellant’s freedom of speech and assembly by charging him with violation of “disturbing the peach” and “obstructing a public passage” penal statutes. 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).
As to the “breach of the peace” charge, the Court stated that its independent examination of the record, which it is required to make, shows no conduct which the state had a right to prohibit as a breach of the peace. Id. At 545, 85 S.Ct. at 459. In addressing the “obstructing a public passage” conviction, the Court addressed the issue of the “right of a State or municipality to regulate the use of city streets and other facilities to assure the safety and convenience of the people in their use and concomitant right of the people of free speech and assembly.” Id. At 554, 85 S.Ct. at 464. There was no doubt that the sidewalk was obstructed by the picketers. Id. At 553, 85 S.Ct. at 464. The Court said that the statute, as applied, violated the appellant’s Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly. Id. At 558, 85 S.Ct. at 466.
8. [As to when a governmental entity seeks to take away one’s freedom to display signs and banners in conjunction with his protected speech.] A municipality in Carlson v. People of State of California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940) sought to enforce an ordinance which directly infringed on appellant’s freedom of speech. Carlson declared unconstitutional a municipal ordinance which declared it unlawful for any person, in or upon any public street, highway, sidewalk, alley or other public place … to carry or display any sign or banner in the vicinity of any place of business for the purpose of inducing or attempting to induce an person to refrain from purchasing merchandise or performing services or labor. Id. (emphasis mine).
Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 94 S.Ct. 2727, 41 L.Ed. 2d. 842 (1974).: Appellant had displayed an American flag upside down out of his apartment window with a peace symbol attached. at 405-406. The Court noted, and the state conceded, that appellant engaged in a form of communication. at 409, 94 S.Ct. at 2729-2730.
To apply an ordinance to prevent the display of banners or signs in conjunction with protected speech activity violates the speaker’s right to freedom of speech and the rights of the people to whom the speech was directed. (see p. 23-24 of brief).
“An assertion that ‘Jesus Saves,’ that ‘Abortion is Murder,’ that every woman has the ‘right to Choose,’ or that ‘Alcohol Kills,’ may have a claim to constitutional exemption from the ordinance [which prohibited certain political campaign signs] that is just as strong as ‘Roland Vincent—City Council.’ To create an exception for … political speech and not these other types of speech might create a risk of engaging in constitutionally forbidden content discrimination.” Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 104 S.Ct. 2118, 80 L.Ed. 772.
Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, not to mention the First Amendment itself, government may not grant the use of a forum to people whose views it finds acceptable, but deny use to those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views. Police Department of City of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 96, 92 S.Ct. 2286, 2290, 33 L.Ed. 212 (1972)(Holding a Chicago ordinance unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in a case where the equal protection claim was closely intertwined with First Amendment interests)(p 27 of brief). Once a forum is opened up to assembly or speaking by some groups, government may not prohibit others from assembling or speaking on the basis of what they intend to say. Id. Selective exclusions from a public forum may not be based on content alone, and may not be justified by reference to content alone. Id. Mr. Justice Black called an attempt by a government to pick and choose among the views it is willing to have discussed in picketing activities “censorship in its most odious form, unconstitutional under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S. Ct. 453, 13 L.Ed. 2d 471 (1965) cited in 408 U.S. 92, 98-99, 92 S.Ct. 2291; Carey v. Brown, 477 U.S. 455, 100 S.Ct. 2286, 65 L.Ed. 263 (1980) reaffirmed Mosley.
Even if the purpose of an ordinance does not specifically aim at protected speech, it may indicectly attempt to deny freedom of speech. (see p. 34 of brief). Even if the purpose of [an ordinance such as a sign ordinance] is to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property or to prevent littering, fraud, to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience, to prevent breaches of the peace or other crimes, it is constitutional only so long as it does not abridge constitutional liberty or one to impart information through speech and the distribution of literature. See Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939); Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91 S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed. 2d 214 (1971); Cox v. State of Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).
Preamble: “We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”
Article I. Bill of Rights:
Sec. 2. Rights and privileges.
No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted.
Sec. 3. Liberty of the press.
The liberty of the press shall forever remain inviolate, and all persons may freely speak, write and publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of such right.
Sec. 4. Trial by jury.
The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and shall extend to all cases at law without regard to the amount in controversy. A jury trial may be waived by the parties in all cases in the manner prescribed by law. The legislature may provide that the agreement of five-sixths of a jury in a civil action or proceeding, after not less than six hours’ deliberation, is a sufficient verdict. The legislature may provide for the number of jurors in a civil action or proceeding, provided that a jury have at least six members. [Amended, November 8, 1988]
Sec. 5. No excessive bail or unusual punishments. …
Sec. 6. Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions. …
Sec. 7. Due process; prosecutions; double jeopardy; self-incrimination; bail; habeas corpus. …
Sec. 8. Redress of injuries or wrongs.
Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive to his person, property or character, and to obtain justice freely and without purchase, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, conformable to the laws.
Sec. 9. Treason defined. …
Sec. 10. Unreasonable searches and seizures prohibited. …
Sec. 11. Attainders, ex post facto laws and laws impairing contracts prohibited. …
Sec. 12. Imprisonment for debt; property exemption. …
Sec. 13. Private property for public use. …
Sec. 14. Military power subordinate. …
Sec. 15. Lands allodial; void agricultural leases. …
Sec. 16. Freedom of conscience; no preference to be given to any religious establishment or mode of worship. The enumeration of rights in this constitution shall not deny or impair others retained by and inherent in the people. The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any religious or ecclesiastical ministry, against his consent; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state, nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious societies or religious or theological seminaries.
Sec. 17. Religious tests and property qualifications prohibited. No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust in the state. No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification of any voter at any election in this state; nor shall any person be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinion upon the subject of religion.
Cases: To be added.
V. Northfield, Minnesota Code of Ordinances and Charter
Section 1.1. Preamble.
One of our nation’s most cherished qualities is freedom. There can be no freedom, however, without responsibility and order. Written documents governing our nation and state governments clearly declare the right of all persons to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Accompanying statements spell out the responsibilities and order that make freedom possible. It is proper that cities also spell out the freedoms and responsibilities of their citizens that make for good order.
Be it hereby declared that no person in the City of Northfield shall, on the grounds of age, race, color, creed, sex, religion, national origin, marital status or status with regard to public assistance or disability be subjected to discrimination in any form. Human freedom and human rights are indivisible. If anyone is denied equality, no one is free. The following charter is a declaration of the public policy of the City of Northfield to fulfill its responsibility to treat all of its citizens equally and with good order.
Section 2.2. Powers of the City.
In order to promote and protect the health, safety, morals, comfort, convenience, and welfare of the inhabitants of the city, the city shall have all powers which may now or hereafter be possible for a municipal corporation in this state to exercise in harmony with the constitutions of this state and of the United States. It is the intention of this Charter to confer upon the city every power which it would have if it were specifically mentioned. Unless granted to some other officer or body, all powers are vested in the city council. [Emphasis mine. Note: The city would be subject to state and federal constitutions whether this were in the municipal code or not. This is because city law is subject to the higher laws.]
Section 3.7. Investigation of City Affairs.
The council or an officer or officers formally authorized by the council may make investigations into the city’s affairs. The council may provide for an examination or audit of the accounts of an officer or department of the city government. The council may conduct surveys or research studies of subjects of municipal concern.
Section 4.4. Hearing of the Public.
At each regular meeting of the council a time shall be set aside for the hearing of citizens.
Sec. 1-1. Designation and citation of Code.
- The ordinances embraced in this and the following chapters shall constitute and be
designated the “Northfield, Minnesota, City Code” and may be so cited. Such ordinances may also be cited as the “Northfield Code.”
Sec. 1-2. Definitions and rules of construction.
The following definitions and rules of construction shall apply to this Code and to all ordinances and resolutions unless the context requires otherwise:
City. The term “city” means the City of Northfield, Minnesota.
City council and council. The terms “city council” and “council” mean the council of the City of Northfield, Minnesota.
Code. The term “Code” means the Northfield, Minnesota, City Code, as designated in section 1-1.
Delegation of authority. A provision that authorizes or requires a city officer or city employee to perform an act or make a decision authorizes such officer or employee to act or make a decision through subordinates.
Minn. Stat. The abbreviation “Minn. Stat.” means the Minnesota Statutes, as amended.
Owner. The term “owner,” as applied to property, includes any part owner, joint owner, tenant in common, tenant in partnership, joint tenant or tenant by the entirety of the whole or part of such property.
Person. The term “person” means any human being; any governmental or political subdivision or public agency; any public or private corporation; any partnership; any firm, association or other organization; any receiver, trustee, assignee, agent, or other legal representative of any of the foregoing; or any other legal entity.
Personal property. The term “personal property” means any property other than real property.
Premises. The term “premises,” as applied to real property, includes land and structures.
Property. The term “property” includes real property, personal property and mixed property.
Real property, real estate and land. The terms “real property,” “real estate,” and “land” include lands, buildings, tenements and hereditaments and all rights and interests therein, except chattel interests.
Sidewalk. The term “sidewalk” means that portion of a street between the curbline, or the lateral lines of a roadway where there is no curb, and the adjacent property line, intended for the use of pedestrians. If there is no public area between the lateral lines of the roadway and the abutting property line, the area immediately abutting the street line shall be construed as the sidewalk.
State. The term “state” means the State of Minnesota.
Street. The term “street” means any alley, avenue, boulevard, highway, road, lane, viaduct, bridge and the approach thereto, and any other public thoroughfare in the city. The term “street” also means the entire width thereof between abutting property lines. The term “street” includes a sidewalk or footpath.
(c) Unless specified otherwise, all references to chapters or sections are to chapters or sections of this Code.
- Sec. 1-8. General penalty; continuing violations.
(a) In this section the phrase “violation of this Code” means any of the following:
(1) Doing an act that is prohibited or made or declared unlawful, an offense, a violation or a misdemeanor by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.
(2) Failure to perform an act that is required to be performed by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.
(3) Failure to perform an act if the failure is prohibited or is made or declared unlawful, an offense, a violation or a misdemeanor by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.
(4) Counseling, aiding or abetting a violation of this Code as defined in this subsection.
(b) In this section the phrase “violation of this Code” does not include the failure of a city officer or city employee to perform an official duty unless it is specifically provided that the failure to perform the duty is to be punished as provided in this section.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by law or ordinance:
(1) A person convicted of a violation of this Code that is not a petty misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.
(2) A person convicted of a violation of this Code that is a petty misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $300.00.
(d) In any case a person convicted of a violation of this Code shall pay the costs of prosecution. Except as otherwise provided by law or ordinance:
(1) With respect to violations of this Code that are continuous with respect to time, each day that the violation continues is a separate offense.
(2) With respect to other violations, each act constitutes a separate offense.
(e) The imposition of a penalty does not prevent suspension or revocation of a license, permit or franchise or other administrative sanctions.
(f) Violations of this Code that are continuous with respect to time are a public nuisance and may be abated by injunctive or other equitable relief. The
- imposition of a penalty does not prevent injunctive relief.
(Code 1986, § 960:00)
State law reference— Authorized penalty for ordinance violations, Minn. Stat. §§ 410.33, 412.231, 609.0332, 609.034.
Sec. 1-11. Code does not affect prior offenses or rights.
a) Nothing in this Code or the ordinance adopting this Code affects any offense or act committed or done, any penalty or forfeiture incurred, or any contract or right established before the effective date of this Code.
Sec. 46-4. Obstruction of public way.
No person shall encumber the city streets, sidewalks, alleys, lanes or public grounds with carriages, carts, wagons, sleighs or other vehicles or with boxes, lumber, firewood, posts, awnings, paper, ashes, refuse, offal, dirt, garbage, stones or other material or obstruction of any kind.
Sec. 50-26. Criminal trespass.
No person shall:
(1) Intentionally enter upon the property of another and, without claim of right, refuse to depart therefrom on demand of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property;
(2) Intentionally enter upon the property of another without express consent of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property in the following situations:
- After such person has been given written notice by the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property directing that such person not enter upon the property; the written notice may be given to the person by certified mail or by service as provided for civil process; or
b. After the property has been conspicuously posted with a notice directing that no person or no person other than persons included in a named classification enter upon the property at any time or at specifically stated times; or
(3) Intentionally enter a building or structure of any kind without the consent, express or implied, of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the building or structure. Whoever enters a building or structure while open to the general public does so with consent, unless consent is withdrawn by giving notice to such person directing that such person not enter the building or structure; the written notice may be given to the person by certified mail or by service as provided for civil process.
(Code 1986, § 955:00)
State law reference— Trespass, Minn. Stat. § 609.605.
No person shall write, print, stick, post, or place any bill, placard or sign of any description upon the sidewalks or other public structure of the city.
Sec. 50-86. Disorderly conduct.
No person shall:
(2) Engage in brawling or fighting;
(3) Disturb an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character;
(4) Spit upon any sidewalk or crosswalk;
(6) Annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct or be offensive to others to a degree whereby a breach of peace may be or is likely to be occasioned;
(7) Fail or refuse to obey a police officer’s lawful order; or
(8) Be guilty of any indecent or obscene acts or any lewd, indecent or obscene conduct, language, or behavior.
Sec. 50-87. Noisy parties or assemblies.
(a) Any person who participates in any party or assembly of two or more people from which noise emanates of a sufficient volume or of sufficient nature to disturb the peace, quiet or repose of another person is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any owner or tenant of the place at which a disturbance is occurring, who has knowledge of the disturbance and fails to immediately abate the disturbance, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) A police officer may order all persons present at a noisy party or assembly prohibited in subsection (a) of this section, other than the owners or tenants of the place at which the disturbance is occurring, to immediately disburse. Any person who shall refuse to leave after being so ordered to do so by a police officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Sec. 50-88. Social host. …
Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE V. OFFENSES INVOLVING PUBLIC MORALS >>
Sec. 50-116. Curfew for minors.
(a) The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Public parks and walkways includes Sechler Park; Odd Fellows Park; Central Park; Babcock Park; Way Park; Riverside Park; Cherry Park; Sibley Marsh; Sibley Swale; Bridge Square; Riverwalkway from Second Street to Fifth Street; River Pedestrian Bridge; and any park, playground or walkway maintained by the city. [Emphasis mine]
Public places includes public streets, parking lots, highways, roads, alleys, public buildings and grounds; places of amusement, refreshment or entertainment; vacant lots; or other unsupported places. [Emphasis mine]
Responsible adult includes a parent, legal guardian, or his/her adult designee, having care and custody of a minor under the age of 18 or any adult having responsibility for a supervised activity.
Supervised activity includes events sponsored and supervised by schools, churches or civic groups or events where a responsible adult is present.
(b) No minor under the age of 16 shall loiter, loaf or be idle in a public place or public park or walkway between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day unless in the company of a responsible adult or going to, attending, or returning from a supervised activity.
(c) No minor under the age of 18 and over the age of 15 shall loiter, loaf or be idle in a public place or park or walkway between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. the following day unless in the company of a responsible adult or going to, attending, or returning from a supervised event.
(d) No parent, legal guardian or other adult having the care and custody of a minor under the age of 18 shall knowingly permit such minor to violate subsection (b) or (c) of this section.
(e) No person operating or in charge of any place of amusement, entertainment, or refreshment shall knowingly permit any minor under the age of 18 to loiter, loaf or be idle in such place during the hours prohibited by this section. This subsection shall not apply when the minor is accompanied by his/her parents, legal guardian, or other adult having the care and custody of the minor.
(1) On an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or guardian, without any detour or stop;
(2) In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;
(3) Engaged in an employment activity, or going to or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop;
(4) Involved in an emergency;
(6) Attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the school district, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor; or going to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the city, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor; or
(7) Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly. [Emphasis mine]
(Code 1986, §§ 930:00—930:20)
All city parks as defined in section 50-116(a) shall be closed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following day. Any person found in the parks after closing hours shall be in violation of this section. Exceptions to this section shall include annual Defeat of Jesse James Days events, any person or groups granted special permission by city officials or city staff, or any person or groups wanting to camp overnight, after first obtaining permission from the police department. All permissions or special permissions referenced in this section shall be granted upon a showing that there will be compliance with all laws and ordinances and a showing that the proposed activity will not endanger park property, the public peace or the public safety.
Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 58 – PEDDLERS, SOLICITORS AND TRANSIENT MERCHANTS >> ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL >> (IN case needed for future reference)
Sec. 58-1. Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Peddler means any person who goes from house to house, place to place or from street to street conveying or transporting goods, wares or merchandise or offering or exposing the goods, wares or merchandise for sale, or making sales and delivering articles to purchasers. The term “peddler” does not include vendors of milk, bakery products, groceries, food products or ice, who distribute their products to regular customers on established routes.
Solicitor means any person who goes from house to house, place to place, or street to street, soliciting or taking or attempting to take orders for sale of goods, wares or merchandise, including magazines, books, periodicals or personal property of any nature for future delivery, or for service to be performed in the future, whether or not such individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the subject of such order or whether or not advance payments on such orders are collected. The term “solicitor” includes any person who, for himself/herself or another, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, motor vehicle, trailer, structure, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, hotel room, lodginghouse, apartment, shop or other place within the city for the primary purpose of exhibiting samples and taking orders for future delivery.
Transient merchant means any person, whether as owner, agent, consignee or employee, who engages in a temporary business of selling and delivering goods, wares and merchandise within the city and who, in furtherance of such purposes, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, structure, motor vehicle, trailer, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, public room in a hotel, lodginghouse, apartment, shop or any street, alley or other place within the city for the exhibition and sale of such goods, wares and merchandise, either privately or at public auction, provided that the term “transient merchant” shall not be construed to include any person who, while occupying such temporary location, does not sell from stock, but exhibits samples for the purpose of securing orders for future delivery only.
(a) Any organization, society, association or corporation (“organization”) desiring to solicit or to have solicited in its name money, donations of money or property, or financial assistance of any kind or desiring to sell or distribute any item of literature or merchandise for which a fee is charged or solicited from persons other than members of such organization upon the streets, in office or business buildings, by house-to-house canvas, or in public places for a charitable, religious, patriotic or philanthropic purpose is exempt from article II of this chapter, provided there is filed a sworn application in writing on a form to be furnished by the finance director/city clerk which contains the following information:
(1) The organization’s name and the specific cause for which exemption is sought;
(2) Names and addresses of the officers and directors of the organization;
(4) Whether or not any commission, fee, wage or emolument is to be expended in connection with such solicitation and the amount thereof.
(b) Upon being satisfied that such an organization is a religious, charitable, patriotic or philanthropic organization, the finance director/city clerk shall issue a license without a fee to such organization. Such organization shall furnish all of its members, agents or representatives conducting solicitation credentials in writing stating the name of the organization, the name of the agent and the purpose of the solicitation.
Sec. 58-7. Penalty.
Any person convicted of violating any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense.