“Cartoonist Faces Prosecution for Videos Mocking Police”

by Walter Olson on August 5, 2011

The story everyone’s talking about: if you wanted a definitive example of the dangers of overbroad “cyber-stalking” statutes, here you go. [WSJ Law Blog, Balko, Volokh, Reason, Popehat]

{ 4 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 08.05.11 at 10:10 am

Is it really two much to expect that a prosecutor and a judge would have heard of the First Amendment? Apparently the answer is yes in Renton, Washington.

2 Bumper 08.05.11 at 10:29 pm

“Respect my authority*,” Eric Cartman

or

“Thou doth protest too much,” Shakespeare

pronounced “auth-o-tie”

3 SPO 08.06.11 at 9:27 am

I am appalled by this ham-handed action by the cops, prosecutor and judge. This is speech protected by the First Amendment, and I believe that the cop should be fired and that the prosecutor and judge ought to be disbarred. However, what should be society’s response to stuff like this. Let’s say a girl in HS is mercilessly pilloried on the internet as a “slut” etc. etc. That stuff lives forever–is she supposed to go through her HS life like that? What if Det. Gardanar did not sleep with the murder suspect, or did so innocently? Maybe the answer to the HS girl and Det. Gardanar is tough noogies–that’s life under the First Amendment, and I am ok with that. But let’s at least be honest here—there is a reason for these laws, and people can be grievously harmed by someone with a computer and an ax to grind. And the answer may just be “too bad.”

4 Mark Biggar 08.08.11 at 11:26 am

There is ample precedent that the First amendment does not protect against Libel and Slander. A combination of “truth is a absolute defense” and anti-SLAPP laws and possible Loser Pays should provide balance.

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