Bailey v. State – Case Brief Summary (Arkansas)

In Bailey v. State, 334 Ark. 43, 972 S.W.2d 239 (1998), the Court held that this statute is not overly broad because it only prohibits fighting words. In that case, the supreme court affirmed Bailey's conviction for disorderly conduct and observed that his use of profanity and racial epithets towards police officers, combined with the threatening behavior of grabbing an officer's arm, was sufficient to sustain his conviction.

Bailey was arrested when an officer went to his residence to investigate a one-vehicle accident involving Bailey and his girlfriend near his apartment. When the officer arrived, Bailey began to curse, calling the officer MF or SB when the officer brought Bailey's girlfriend from the residence. At one point during that encounter, Bailey said "F--k you, nigger, and f--k you, too" to a black state trooper who was assisting with the encounter. The supreme court affirmed Bailey's disorderly conduct conviction based on this record, concluding:

not only did Mr. Bailey's direct various fighting words to the officers, when considering his surrounding conduct, such as standing up and grabbing Officer Randle's arm, we conclude that he used these words "in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response" under § 5-71-207(a)(3). Moreover, his act of standing up and grabbing Officer Randle's arm in and of itself supported a conviction under subsection (a)(1), as this conduct constituted "threatening behavior." (Id. at 54, 972 S.W.2d at 245.)