nIn 1992, the Chicago City Council enacted an ordinance prohibiting criminal street gang members from loitering
in any public place.
nOver the next three years, the police issued over 89,000
dispersal orders and arrested more
than 42,000 people for violating
the new law.
nIn 1999, the United States Supreme Court declared the ordinance unconstitutional.
nWriting for the Court, Justice Stevens concluded that
the ordinance did not
provide “sufficiently specific limits on the enforcement discretion of the police” and failed to meet
“constitutional standards for
definiteness and clarity.”
nThe Court found that the ordinance succumbed to the vice
of vagueness--that the city council
had failed to meet its obligation
to specify the criminal law with reasonable precision.