LAWRENCE V. TEXAS (2003) 5
Lawrencev. Texas (2003)
Lawrencev. Texas (2003)
Inthis case, police officers in Houston were dispatched to respond toinformation regarding weapons disturbance. The Houston officerstherefore entered in a private residence of John Geddes Lawrence whois the second petitioner of this case (Justia, 2016). However theofficers reported to have found the petitioner engaging in intimateact with Tyron Garner. The crime reported by the police officers wasthat the petitioner was engaging in sexual intercourse with theperson of the same gender, which was male. The police officers termedthis sexual act that involved anal intercourse as deviate sexualintercourse. After the arrest and an overnight custody in the policecells, the two petitioners were charged and consequently convicted inthe lower courts. However, the two petitioners challenged the lowercourts decisions and claimed protection under the fourth amendmentclause (Justia, 2016).
Thejustice of peace held that the two petitioners Lawrence and Garnerhad violated the penal code that forbids sexual intercourse orrelations with a person of the same sex. This punitive code definesthis type of sexual behavior as deviate as is described to be anyform of contact of genitals, mouth or anus of people of the samegender. In this case, petitioners were ordered by this lower court topay $141.25 and a fine of $200 each (Legal, 2003). This is after theyentered a plea because their challenge of this statute was rejected.Lawrence and Garner claimed their right for trial arguing that thesaid statute was an infringement of equal protection clause that isunder Fourth Amendment Clause (Legal, 2003).
Thecourt heard arguments from the petitioners based on the Due ProcessClauses found in the Forth Amendment and the Equal Protection(Justia, 2016). In this case, the petitioner argued that the FourthAmendment protects them from unwarranted government invasion that wasevidenced by the police officers.
Therefore,the petitioners argued that they had the right of enjoying theirliberty which includes freedom of belief, thought, and certainintimate conduct as well as freedom of expression (Legal, 2003). Thismeans that they had the right of privacy from such governmentintrusion that is unwarranted. This is because such intrusion to anindividual’s privacy by the government leads to negative effectsdecisions that are fundamentally personal in nature. However, thecourt rejected these arguments and eventually affirmed theconvictions held in the lower courts. The courts argued that Bowersv. Hardwick was relevant in this case and hence controlling as far asthe Due Process argument was concerned (Justia, 2016).
Thecourt used various reasoning to reaching its decision regardingLawrence v. Garner. The first reasoning that the court had was theviolation of the Fourth Amendment by the homosexual actions of thepetitioners (Legal, 2003). For this reason, the court had todetermine whether sexual intimacy between two same sex couples orpersons violated the Fourth Amendment or whether it guaranteed equalprotection under the Texas law on homosexual behavior. Secondly thecourt reasoned on issues regarding privacy and liberty that isprotected by the Due Process presented by the petitioners (Legal,2003). This is because Lawrence and Garner had engaged in aconsensual sexual intimacy in the privacy of their home.
Thesignificance of the court’s decision is that the sexual intimacybetween two adult male adults is not a fundamental right (Justia,2016). This is as far as the argument on Due Process Clause in theFourth Amendment is concerned. Therefore, one is left with thequestion whether the court was able to appreciate the extent ofLawrence and Garners’ privacy and liberty.
LegalInformation Institute. (June 26th,2003). LAWRENCEV. TEXAS (02-102) 539U.S. 558 (2003)41 S. W. 3d 349, reversed and remanded.Retrieved from > https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZO.html. Accessed onJuly 13, 2016.
JUSTIAU.S Supreme court. (October, 2004). Lawrencev. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003).Retrieved from >https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/539/558/case.html. DateAccessed. July 14, 2016