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25 Ga. L. Rev. 819 (1990-1991)
Klan, Cloth and Constitution: Anti-Mask Laws and the First Amendment

handle is hein.journals/geolr25 and id is 835 raw text is: NOTES
On February 28, 1990, Shade Miller, Jr., a member of the Invisi-
ble Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, emerged from his
pickup truck in front of the old Gwinnett County Courthouse in
Lawrenceville, Georgia, wearing the Klan's traditional hood and
mask.1 Police immediately arrested Miller2 and charged him with
violating Georgia's anti-mask law, which prohibits wearing a
mask or hood that hides the face so as to conceal the wearer's iden-
tity while on public streets or property.3 Pleading not guilty to the
charge,4 Miller filed a special demurrer arguing that the statute vi-
olated his federal constitutional rights of free speech and associa-
tions and that the statute was overbroad.' While the trial court
1 Applebome, Klan Challenges Law Against Hoods, N.Y. Times, Apr. 15, 1990, § 1, Part
1, at 12, col. 4.
Id. On Feb. 27, a caller told the Gwinnett County police that a masked Klansman
would show up at the old county courthouse in Lawrenceville the next day in violation of
the law. Id. Both police and news reporters were waiting when Miller arrived. Langford,
Klan Tests Georgia's Anti-Hood Statute, Legal Times, Apr. 9, 1990, at 9.
3 GA. CODE ANN. § 16-11-38(a) (1988).
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by
which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal
the identity of the wearer and is uppn any public way or public property or
upon the private property of another without the written permission of the
owner or occupier of the property to do so.
4 Langford, supra note 2.
1 State v. Miller, No. 90D-0929-2, slip op. at 1 (State Ct. of Gwinnett County, Ga. May
25, 1990), rev'd, 260 Ga. 669, 398 S.E.2d 547 (1990). The constitutional rights of free speech
and association are guaranteed by the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution.
US. CONsT. amend. I (Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech ...
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble ... .); U.S. CoNsr. amend. XIV, § 1 (No
state shall make or enforce any law which shall... deprive any person of ... liberty...
without due process of law .  ).
6 Miller, No. 90D-0929-2, slip op. at 1. See infra notes 250-96 and accompanying text for


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