When Richard Catalano was accused of violating Florida's loud music law, he responded by saying that the law itself wasn't constitutional. Sometimes it pays to be a lawyer.
In 2007, Catalano was accused of playing his music loud enough to violate a Florida law prohibiting drivers from playing music that was "plainly audible" from 25 feet away. But the Justin Timberlake fan is also an attorney.
So instead of giving in and paying the fine, Catalano argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague. The court didn't agree, but Catalano still won.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it infringed on free speech, not because it was too subjective, reports Reuters.
Noncommercial speech is also entitled to protection, the court ruled, and without a compelling interest in keeping drivers from feeling the thumping bass vibrations of vehicles, the law could not stand.
Catalano isn't the first person to challenge the law against playing loud music. Earlier this year Mark Cannon also successfully argued that the law should not be enforced.
That decision was limited to the city of Sarasota, since Cannon settled with the city. But Catalano's case means other drivers will be free to blast their tunes as well.
Not only will he get to listen to his music on the way to work, Catalano's effort is a good advertisement for his skills as an attorney. If he can win on this issue, just think of what he could do with something that's a serious rights violation.
We're not saying being a plaintiff is the best way to get business; there are better ways to learn more about marketing. Still, the publicity surrounding his court victory probably hasn't hurt Catalano's reputation.
For most drivers, five years of litigation is not worth a $73 fine for playing music too loud. But for Richard Catalano, it was apparently worth the time and effort to be able to hear Justin Timberlake's beats while driving to the courthouse.
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