NEWS OF THE WEIRD

WHAT A JERK! PT. II

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Despite a 1971 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring governments couldn't punish people who are merely "annoying," dozens of towns (according to a March Wall Street Journal item) continue to regard the behavior as criminal. The justices decided the word is too "vague" to give fair warning of which behaviors are illegal, but an Indiana deputy attorney general told the w anyone with "ordinary intelligence" knows what's annoying. New York has such a law, as do Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Cumberland, Maryland — among the 5,000 mentions of forms of "to annoy" in a computer search of municipal ordinances. In January, Britain's House of Lords blocked a proposed anti-annoyance law.

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