? asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 9 years ago

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Please fully explain or discuss your answer and justify it according to applicable law.

A 1988 state statute required all operators of slow-moving vehicles to display on their vehicles a fluorescent orange-red triangular emblem or, as an alternative, a dull black triangle with white reflective border, plus seventy-two square inches of permanent red reflective tape. A vehicle operator who chose the alternate emblem still had to carry a regular orange-red emblem in the vehicle and display it externally during times of darkness or low visibility. The state brought charges against Hochleitner and other members of a religious sect (the defendants) because they refused to comply with the statute. The defendants claimed that the statute violated their freedom of religion under the First Amendment because displaying the “loud” colors and “worldly symbols” on their slow-moving vehicles (black, boxlike buggies) compromised their religious belief that they should remain separate and apart from the modern world. The defendants stated that they would not object to displaying a sign similar to the alternate symbol if they could use silver, instead of red, reflective tape, and if they did not have to display the “regular” emblem at night. The state argued that although the silver tape was as effective as the red in terms of visibility, vehicles, and therefore the religious group, should comply with the statute as written. What will the court hold? Explain your conclusions.

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    You should read State v. Miller (citation: 202 Wis. 2d 56).

    This question is no doubt based on that case and the facts are pretty much identical. In Miller, a number of Amish individuals were cited for not having the triangular emblem on the back of their buggies. The court there said that the challenger to the law (in this case the Amish) carries the burden to prove: (1) that he or she has a sincerely held religious belief, (2) that is burdened by application of the state law at issue. Upon such proof, the burden shifts to the State to prove: (3) that the law is based on a compelling state interest, (4) which cannot be served by a less restrictive alternative.

    So, in a free exercise of religion challenge such as this, the threshold requirements for religious beliefs to be accorded First Amendment protection are that the beliefs avowed be: (1) sincerely held and (2) religious in nature, in the claimant's scheme of things; when both of these requirements are met, the court must then decide the question of whether a legitimate and reasonably exercised State interest outweighs the proffered First Amendment claim.

    Here is a brief summary of the Miller case:

    OVERVIEW: Defendants asserted that their religious convictions did not allow them to display the SMV (slow moving vehicle) symbol because the fluorescent red and orange colors were too loud and bright. As an alternative, all the buggies involved were equipped with a red lantern and white reflective tape outlining the perimeter of the rear of the buggy. The court of appeals held that Wis. Stat. § 347.245 (1993-1994) was unconstitutional as applied to defendants because the state had not demonstrated that the emblem was the least restrictive means of furthering the state's interest in traffic safety. On appeal, the court affirmed, but based its holding on the guarantees contained in Wis. Const. art. I, § 18 right to worship according to the dictates of conscience. After noting that there was no dispute as to the sincerity of defendants' belief, the court applied the compelling interest/least restrictive alternative standard. The court found that the state failed to demonstrate that public safety on the highways could not be served by defendants' less restrictive alternative. An expert witness for defendants had testified that the white reflective tape provided superior perception to the SMV emblem.

    Source(s): attorney at law :)
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  • 9 years ago

    Well I am assuming the defendants were Amish? The whole thing shouldn't of been done in the first place. According to their religion and what it says in the bible the laws of God are sovereign but also to obey the laws of the land. So on that basis the defendants (Amish) should of obeyed the statute in the first place. Romans 13:1-7 is the passage they should of been obeying.

    "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

    So basically if the prosecutor had quoted this. They would have no leg to stand on by the laws of their own faith.

    Source(s): bible.
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