We have seen many incidents of lower courts ordering those convicted of crimes to endure unusual punishments: some as novel as holding signs advertising that they are criminals; requiring the cutting hair of their children; or forced attendance in Church. While these are fundamentally unusual, a case before us here fortunately never rose to these levels of miscarried justice.
An appellant argued before the Washington Supreme Court that a letter compelled by a juvenile court, mandating an apology to the victim of a sexual assault, violated his free speech rights by imposing a government mandated speech of which he objected.
Many might see the matter as a minor requirement to apologize to a victim and not “worth the trouble” on behalf of the defendant, or, perhaps representing a rather cold hearted approach by the defendant to contest such a matter out of spite. Yet, the Court likely granted review due to the compelled speech question not having been previously addressed in Washington.
Previous case law in the state tends to much favor free speech which is interpreted to be afforded greater protection within purview of the state constitution, and in most cases provides greater rights than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In an injustice to both the liberty of a Kurdish man and free speech in general a court in Turkey handed down thirteen year sentence to a defendant accused of removing a Turkish flag at a military base near Diyarbakir, Turkey. The disproportionate sentence followed an outraged Recep Erdogan who declared after the act, “[w]e don’t care if he is a child. Even if a child dares to take down our sacred flag both him and those who send him there will pay a price.”
An Oklahoma citizen took his small town’s police department to federal court, claiming police clamped down on him when he put a sign on the curb warning of a speed trap ahead.
James Goad, of Meeker, Oklahoma, says the harassment that followed his action amounted to a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. In the suit against the Meeker Police Department and Police Chief Sam Byrd, Goad claims police arrested him and violated his civil rights to get back at him for his sign stunt.
“Mr. Goad was exercising his constitutional right to free speech when he posted the speed trap warning sign on the property,” Goad’s attorney, Jack Dawson, wrote.