Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

24FE2B9600000578-0-Aristy_s_Facebook_profile_features_many_photos_of_him_either_smo-m-44_1422071322717We have been following the response of police in the aftermath of the murder of two officers in New York. One fear is that this effort will extend to areas of free speech and the arrest this week of a teenager boy in Brooklyn would seem to confirm those concerns. Osiris Aristy posted what police consider to be threatening text and digital cartoon images – or emoji on Facebook. He was arrested for terroristic threats as well as criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drugs and criminal possession of marijuana. His bail was set at $150,000.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

It is unfortunately not surprising that anything that the CIA does should be considered suspect.  When the CIA recently came under fire for allegedly spying on Senate computers, no one, except the Senators who were spied on were surprised.  Now that Director John Brennan has completed his internal “investigation” into the matter, the truth has come out.  John Brennan says he and the CIA did nothing wrong! (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

walker-guilty-photoAfter what was declared to be prosecutorial misconduct, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a jury conviction of Odies Delandus Walker. The defendant was convicted as being an accomplice to first degree murder, first degree assault, first degree robbery, solicitation, and conspiracy after a robbery at a Lakewood Walmart.

In closing arguments during trial, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office showed the jury a PowerPoint presentation having over one hundred of a total of approximately two hundred fifty slides having headings such as “DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER,” including one slide having a booking photograph of Walker altered to have “GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT” superimposed in boldfaced red letters over his photograph. Additional photographs presented included those of Walker and his family juxtaposed with those of the murder victim emblazoned with inflammatory captions.

Walker asked the court to address if such actions violated his right to a fair trial due to the prejudicial nature of the presentation.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

washington-flag-sealIn what some regard as an affront to both free speech and whistleblowing, Washington legislators Joe Schmick, J. T. Wilcox, June Robinson, and Vincent Buys sponsored House Bill 1104 introducing the new crime of “Interference with Agricultural Production.” The bill, if signed into law, will have the effect of criminalizing whistleblowing and the free speech activities of those seeking to publicize allegations of animal cruelty and other concerning farming methods under the guise of protecting agribusinesses from economic harm.

The bill also provides for troubling retributions against those who have traditionally revealed acts of cruelty to animals and shown food safety abuses by several farms and businesses.

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Marty_Walsh220px-US_Navy_031029-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-cropThis month I wrote a column for the Washington Post on the crackdown of free speech in France and we have previously discussed the decline of free speech values in the West. (here and here and here). This has included attacks in the United States (here and here and here and here). Now, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has prepared his city for its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics by effectively suspending free speech for city employees and banning them from uttering any negative comments about the Games or the process. I suppose Walsh can cite John Adams’ infamous use of the Alien and Sedition Acts as precedent.

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There is another controversy involving a police shooting. Jermane Reid was shot and killed after the Jaguar in which he was riding was pulled over for running a stop sign by Bridgeton officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley in a Dec. 30 traffic stop. When one officer reported seeing a handgun in the glove compartment, things got tense and ultimately led to the fatal shooting of the unarmed Reid. [Warning: the video and text includes foul language]

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I have previously written about how some attorneys continue to ignore bar standards encouraging firms to show basic professionalism and decorum in advertising. While we all agree that there is a free speech right to advertise, the vast majority of lawyers show great restraint in deference to the standards of our profession. Then there are people like Michael A. Fiumara. Fiumara of Santa Rosa has posted a juvenile advertisement featuring a sexually suggestive doll in his effort to win the race to the bottom among low-grade lawyers.

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