Poor Clearwater attorney Richard T. Catalano.
All he wants to do is drive down an idyllic, country St. Petersburg road and blow his ear drums out by blasting his car stereo at full volume.
What could be more American than that?
Well, now the 2d DCA agrees, though it has certified a question to the Supremes:
IS THE “PLAINLY AUDIBLE” LANGUAGE IN SECTION 316.3045(1)(a), FLORIDA STATUTES, UNCONSITUTIONALLY VAGUE, OVERBROAD, ARBITRARILY ENFORCEABLE, OR IMPINGING ON FREE SPEECH RIGHTS?
Helpfully, the 2d suggests the answer is yes:
Turning our attention to the Florida statute at issue, on its face it is not content neutral. The statute excepts from its provisions “motor vehicles used for business or political purposes, which in the normal course of conducting such business use soundmaking devices.” § 316.3045(3). In other words, an individual using a vehicle for business purposes could, for example, listen to political talk radio at a volume clearly audible from a quarter mile; however, an individual sitting in a personal vehicle that is parked next to the business vehicle is subject to a citation if the individual is listening to music or religious programming that is clearly audible at twenty-five feet. Clearly, different forms of speech receive different treatment under the Florida statute. That is, the statute in question does not “apply equally to music, political speech and advertising,” which is what the Supreme Court requires in order for the statute to be deemed, “content-neutral.” See City of Cincinnati, 507 U.S. at 428.
This seems like a no-brainer.
I mean, who does St. Petersburg think it is, Coral Gables?