Facts of the Case
Appellant, Richard Erznoknik, etc., manager of University Drive-In Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida, was charged by Jacksonville law enforcement officials for violating a municipal ordinance (s 330.313) that prohibited the exhibition of motion pictures containing nudity, insofar as the exhibition is visible from a public street or place (422 U.S. 205 at 7). ). Erznoknik maintained that the city ordinance abridged his First Amendment rights. The city of Jacksonville (Appellee) maintained that the ordinance, while extending beyond permissible restraints on obscenity, was acceptable because it aimed to shield passers-by from public exhibitions of offensive content (422 U.S. 205 at 8).
Did Jacksonville’s ordinance violate free speech protections as applied through the First and Fourteenth Amendments?
Yes. The Court held that ordinance lacked statutory validity because of its intended use to restrict the expression of free speech and messages based on content was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.
The Court reasoned that the Jacksonville city ordinance discriminated too broadly based on exhibition content and did not serve a narrowly-tailored, compelling government interest as required to be valid under the First Amendment. Specifically, the Court held that the statute constituted a restriction that was broader than permissible because it was not directed against sexually explicit nudity.