Exercise 7 - Stalking and Harassment Act Exceptions
The defendant, a striking screenwriter, is charged with harassment under §30-3A-2 based on 65 consecutive days of engaging in picketing immediately outside the main entrance to a movie studio. The complaining witness, a studio executive, filed an affidavit stating that for every one of those days, from behind the picket line the defendant mirrored him walking into and out of the building, yelling his name and things such as "shame on you—you make millions and we're struggling even working full time!" The affidavit states that as a direct result of the defendant's actions the executive is suffering substantial emotional distress. The defendant's attorney files a motion to dismiss the harassment charge and includes a copy of the screenwriter's contract which reveals that the defendant's method of picketing does not violate specified dispute resolution procedures.
How should the judge rule on the motion to dismiss?
- A. Deny the motion.
- Answer A is incorrect. Under §30-3A-4(A), picketing stemming from a bona fide labor dispute is an exception to the criminal offense of harassment. Although the defendant's actions might have negatively affected the studio executive, the actions appear to be lawful and part of a bona fide labor dispute. Please select another answer.
- B. Grant the motion because the facts present only a civil law contractual dispute, beyond the court's jurisdictional amount, and not a criminal case.
- Answer B is incorrect. The granting of the motion is correct, but not because the case is solely a civil law contract case. Rather, granting the motion to dismiss is proper due to the defendant's picketing being lawful and/or part of a bona fide labor dispute. This activity constitutes an exception to harassment under §30-3A-4(A). Please select another answer.
- C. Grant the motion because the defendant's conduct falls within a lawful exception to the harassment statute.
- Answer C is correct! Under §30-3A-4(A), picketing which is lawful or part of a bona fide labor dispute constitutes an exception to the Harassment and Stalking Act. Although the defendant's actions might have negatively affected the studio executive, the actions appear to be lawful and part of a bona fide labor dispute.