SW Legal Educational Publishing

Protesting Fur Coats Inside Shopping Mall Is Not Protected Free Speech
Description Minnesota high court upheld trial court decision not to drop trespassing charges against protestors who demonstrated peacefully inside of a shopping mall against the sale of fur coats. Such speech, on private property, is not protected by the First Amendment.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Freedom of Speech, Public Forum, Shopping Mall
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Ten protestors distributed leaflets and carried signs claiming cruel treatment of animals by the fur trade and urged a boycott of Macy's because it sells fur coats. The protest occurred inside the Mall of America (MOA) in front of an entrance to Macy's. MOA personnel requested the protestors leave, as they were on private property. Four protestors refused to leave and were arrested and charged with trespassing. They moved for dismissal of the charges, claiming they were protected by freedom of speech right. Trial court denied their motion; protestors appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The protest at the shopping mall was not constitutionally protected free speech. Property is not somehow converted from private to public for free speech purposes because it is openly accessible to the public. The invitation to the public to shop and be entertained at the mall, and the fact that public financing was used to help develop the mall property, did not constitute state action for free speech purposes.
Citation Minnesota v. Wicklund, 589 N.W.2d 793 (Sup. Ct., Minn., 1999)

Back to Constitutional Law Listings

©1998  South-Western, All Rights Reserved