State v. CatalanoAnnotate this Case
Defendants pled nolo contendere to charges of violating the sound standards of Fla. Stat. 316.3045(1)(a), reserving the right to appeal the constitutionality of the statute. Defendants subsequently appealed, arguing that the statute's "plainly audible" standard was constitutionally vague, overbroad, invited arbitrary enforcement, and impinged on their free speech rights. Bound by the Second District's decision in Easy Way of Lee County v. Lee County, the circuit court reversed. On appeal, the Second District denied the State's petition for certiorari relief, holding (1) the "plainly audible" standard of noise ordinance was unconstitutional, and (2) section 316.3045(3) was an unconstitutional content-based restriction because it contained an exemption for vehicles used for business and political purposes that use sound-making devices in the normal course of operations. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the Second District's declaration that section 316.3045(1)(a) was invalid because it was an unreasonable restriction on the freedom of expression; (2) held that the statute was unconstitutionally overbroad, but not unconstitutionally vague; and (3) found that section 316.3045(3) was not severable from the remainder of the statute.