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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ind. Courts - Still more on "Blogger Jailed; Allegedly Threatened Dearborn Judge"

Updating this ILB entry from Jan. 21st, Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy late this afternoon posted an entry on our Indiana Court of Appeals' opinion in Daniel Brewington v. State of Indiana. The long post is headed "Harshly Criticizing a Judge (or Others) for Their Past Conduct = Crime?" and begins:

That’s what Brewington v. State (Ind. Ct. App. Jan, 17, 2013) appears to hold. The defendant may well have seemed like a potentially dangerous person, and he was also convicted of perjury and other crimes; moreover, the government argued that he threatened violence and not just criticism. But the court’s reasoning, which focused on the defendant’s continuing harsh criticism, would apply to many other defendants in the future. This strikes me as quite troubling.
The post concludes:
As I’ve said above, I think this decision is wrong, and quite dangerous. It’s not limited to blackmail of the “do this or I’ll reveal this secret about you” sort; indeed, this speech involved neither an attempt to coerce the judge (the speech happened after the judge’s actions) nor a revelation of secrets. It would also apply equally to speech that harshly and repeatedly condemns legislators for their “prior lawful act[s],” as well as speech that condemns others — journalists, business leaders, and the like — at least so long as the speech seems to carry within it the “threat” of more speech. A very bad result, which I hope the Indiana Supreme Court reviews and reverses.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 22, 2013 06:43 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions