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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ind. Decisions - "Justices overturn girl's MySpace conviction"

Charles Wilson of the AP reports today on the Supreme Court decision yesterday in the case of A.B. v.State of Indiana (see May 13th ILB entry here - 4th case). Some quotes:

The Indiana Supreme Court overruled a judge who placed a middle school student on probation for posting an expletive-laden entry on MySpace criticizing her principal over school policy on body piercings.

The state Court of Appeals last year had ordered the Putnam Circuit Court to set aside its penalty against the girl, referred to in court documents as A.B., because it said the court had violated the girl's free-speech rights.

The Supreme Court, however, disagreed with that rationale and instead overruled the [trial] court Tuesday because it found it had failed to prove that the girl's post constituted harassment under Indiana law. * * *

The court noted that a key post appeared in a private section of a MySpace site that was not intended to be viewed by the public, but only by friends who had been invited by the user. The principal was able to view it only after gaining access from another student who had created the site.

A.B. therefore had no reason to expect that Gobert would see her post, the high court said in its eight-page ruling.

Another post that led to the penalty appeared in a more public area of the site, but the Supreme Court said the content indicated that it was intended as legitimate communication, which meant it could not be construed as harassment under state law.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 14, 2008 10:11 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions