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They do have a right for free speech and to gather

signatures and for public expression...
They do have a right for free speech and to gather signatures and for public expression. So legally in CA, people expressing their right to free speech in gathering signatures or peacefully handing out material on an issue cannot be removed even from a private shopping mall property. See: Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980).You can watch them, but if you are visibly standing near them such that it can chill their right to freely express themselves or if you seek to stop them, then that becomes harassment.The question would be how would it chill there right to freely express themselves.
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1/20/2018
James Daloisio
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience: 30 years experience in criminal law, continuing education.
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Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to Just Answer.

The "chilling effect" is a theory that courts use to invalidate legislation that inhibits the exercise of free speech. Over the years the idea has evolved to include any activity that interferes with the legal exercise of constitutionally guaranteed rights, but it's still primarily a legal concept used in court.

To have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected activity, the conduct does not have to actually stop, slow, or interfere with the activity. The focus is on what the person has done to attempt to interfere, not the actual effect that it had on the person exercising their rights. For example:

The present state of the law pretty much depends on the type of activity and the location. We'll limit ourselves to private shopping centers and malls, as you've cited the Pruneyard case. Let's say you're gathering signatures for a petition. You're in an approved congregating area in a private shopping center. You have a small table and chair set up. Suddenly a person approaches to watch what you're doing. You are not bothered by their presence. But it's possible that people who would normally approach your table to see what you're doing might not do so because of the onlooker. So the onlooker, by potentially interfering with access to your table, may be creating a chilling effect on your activity. It's about interference.

I am not sure about your comment regarding harassment. Generally speaking, any conflict between a person exercising a First Amendment right in a public place, and a person who is interfering with that exercise, is viewed as a civil matter by the police unless there is clear evidence of a crime. A person who's conduct may be viewed as having a chilling effect on the legitimate exercise of a protected activity might be told to leave, and if he/she refuses, may be subject to arrest for trespassing.

As I said, there are many cases involving First Amendment infringement, and the outcome may be affected by the type of case, i.e., employer vs. employee/union, retail tenant vs. demonstrator, etc., because there may be additional laws involved, especially in the area of labor. But to answer your question, any potential interference of a protected activity would be viewed as having a chilling effect on that activity.

I hope this has answered your question. You can always return here with follow up questions on this topic at no additional charge. Please don't forget to rate this answer, and thank you for using Just Answer.

James Daloisio
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience: 30 years experience in criminal law, continuing education.
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