I will now argue that Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was falsely arrested in violation of Massachusetts Law, and probably the 4th Amendment as well under federal constitutional law cases.
This case can be analyzed with horn book law and decisions of the Massachusetts state courts concerning that state's statute under which Professor Gates was arrested and charged.
We go back to a case found in horn books and a case on the lips of those aware of seminal Supreme Court cases, which would exclude Sarah Palin:
It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule.(Marbury v Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), italics added). What does the judicial department of Massachusetts say about the statute the police accused Professor Gates of violating?
The Massachusetts Statute, under which Professor Gates was charged, is 272 § 53, which says:
Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.(Massachusetts v Zettel, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 471, 1999). Obviously this statute needs some help from the Massachusetts courts in order to be clear and to be constitutional.
In the Zettel case above, a mother was picking up her child at school where she was double parked behind some school buses that were also double parked.
A police officer ordered her to move her car because what she was doing was unsafe. She refused, eventually resisted arrest, kicked the police officer, and was found guilty by a jury.
The Massachusetts court of appeal reversed for lack of evidence, saying the crucial part of this particular statute is whether or not the accused has a legitimate purpose for the behaviour the police say was a crime setting.
She had a legitimate purpose in being where she was to pick up her children and so a traffic ticket would have been more real than a disorderly conduct arrest.
Professor Gates has a legitimate purpose when he exercises his free speech right to say the thinks the police are being motivated by a racial animus, whether they are or not, and he can say it in public so long as he is not trying to incite violence against that policeman.
The Fourth Amendment is the Supreme Law of the United States, and it says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.(4th Amendment). The police are not allowed to make an unreasonable arrest for behaviour conducted in a person's home, even when that behaviour would be illegal outside the home.
That is why they wanted to get him to "a public place", his porch, because he has less right there than he does inside his home.
Clearly the officer tried to entrap him by consistently asking him to come onto the porch, but nevertheless, Professor Gates had a legitimate purpose, a free speech right to yell his free speech considerations even from his front porch.
He could yell "you have been shown this is my house and no crime has been committed by me but your racial bias will not let you move on to deal with real crimes that are being committed elsewhere".
That is why the prosecutor dropped the charges like a hot potato. They knew they would lose the case and Professor Gates would win the case in the state court.
UPDATE: A lawyer who practices in Massachusetts explains how the statute under which Professor Gates was arrested is 400 years too old.