Washington v. E.J.J. (Majority and Concurrence)Annotate this Case
This case began as a call for police assistance to E.J.J. 's house to help with his intoxicated, out-of-control sister, R.J. (a juvenile at the time). The police responded and began their intervention by escorting R.J. out of the house 10 to 15 feet away from the front door, where the officers attempted to calm her down. E.J.J. grew concerned when he saw an officer reach for what he perceived to be a nightstick. E.J.J. exited the house and stood on the porch, telling the officers that R.J. was his sister and that they should not use the nightstick. The officers advised him that they were in the middle of their investigation and instructed him multiple times to leave the scene and return to the house. Initially, E.J.J. did not comply. When he did return to the home, he stood in an open doorway and continued his verbal interaction with the officers. The officers directed E.J.J. multiple times to close the solid wood door and to withdraw further into the home, but E.J.J. refused, stating that he wanted to make sure that R.J. was not harmed. E.J.J. continued to stand behind a closed wrought iron door. Multiple times, an officer reached into the home to close the solid door. E.J.J. would immediately reopen it. At this point, E.J.J. was irate, yelling profanities and calling the officers abusive names. An officer warned E.J.J. that he could be arrested for obstruction. After E.J.J. continued to reopen the solid door, an officer put him under arrest for obstruction of a law enforcement officer. E.J.J. challenged the obstruction statute as unconstitutional as applied to his behavior. "While E.J.J. 's words may have been disrespectful, discourteous, and annoying, they are nonetheless constitutionally protected." The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and dismissed the case.