Vincenty v. Bloomberg

Constitutional Law

New York Law Journal

Before Kearse, Sotomayor, and B.D. Parker, C.JJ.

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UPHOLDING AN injunction against enforcement of a New York City anti-graffiti measure banning people between 18 and 21 from having spray paint and indelible markers, the appellate court ruled that the ban violated the First Amendment by infringing on plaintiffs' - primarily art students and aspiring artists - access to materials essential for their artistic expression. It found no error in the court's finding that the challenged sections of New York city's administrative code imposed a substantially greater burden on innocent speech than needed to achieve the city's legitimate goal of combatting graffiti vandalism. The city's lack of need for a strict liability provision was reinforced by statistics showing that from Dec. 29, 2005, to May 1, 2006, only two criminal summonses were issued to people aged 18 to 21. However, the panel ruled that nothing in the injunction barred the city from enforcing the measure against those engaging in graffiti vandalism or possessing graffiti implements in public with intent to do so.