Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indiana AG concedes overbroad law

I have mentioned the Dan Brewington case, where a dad was convicted of blogging against his family court judge and child custody evaluator. Now UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh writes:
As I note in the post below, the Indiana Attorney General’s office agrees (see its brief) that the State v. Brewington Indiana Court of Appeals decision was unsound. But the AG’s office argues that Brewington’s conviction should still be affirmed. ...

The Indiana AG’s brief seems to agree that the Indiana Court of Appeals’ decision, which upholds the conviction based on a conclusion that Brewington threatened exposure to disgrace, is “overbroad.”
So the AG admits that Brewington was convicted under a prosecution theory (and jury instructions) that criminalized constitutional free speech. But the AG wants him imprisoned anyway.

The AG brief says Dan accused the evaluator psychologist Edward Connor of "intentionally hurting children" and "being a pervert", and posted some googled info about Connor. Connor never contested these accusations, and the prosecution made no attempt to prove them false at trial. So it seems to me that the appeals court should consider these accusations as true, for the purpose of deciding whether Dan got a fair trial.

The AG brief does not even attempt to defend the perjury and obstruction convictions.

Connor is also married to Sarah Connor, which might cause me to suspect that she is involved with a terminator cyborg from the future.

The AG brief closes with:
It is a disappointing irony that Brewington, who is no friend of free speech when it is spoken by his victims, now takes refuge in the First Amendment. Doctor Connor had a right to issue his evaluation without fear of violent reprisal. Judge Humphrey had a right to issue his final order without fear of violent reprisal. Brewington does not have the First Amendment right to place them in fear of such violent reprisals for their speech, so his conviction is constitutional and the intimidation statute's prohibition of truly threatening communications is constitutional.
This is really offensive. Connor and Humphrey were not acting out of their free speech rights. They are state officials who were abusing their powers to maliciously and illegally attack Brewington by punishing his kids. Brewington was speaking out against state corruption and oppression. Speaking out against govt oppression is the most basic of free speech rights.

Brewington was not convicted of threatening violent reprisals. If Connor and Hunphrey feared it, it was only because of their own paranoia, and their knowledge of how they screwed Brewington and his kids.


Anonymous said...

Let's charter a bus to Indiana and bring pitchforks, tar, and feathers, torch the Attorney General's office and run them out of town on a rail!

Oops, I mean let's bring picket signs and burn them with fiery rhetoric that melts hearts, sparks minds, and rouses the rabble to extremism in defense of liberty!

But right now I need to log off the computer, preheat the oven, and bake some cookies so my kid can have a snack after school.

George said...

I hope that we can joke or speak figuratively without being prosecuted.