Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brewington argues for free speech

Dan Brewington gets to argue his free speech rights before the Indiana supreme court today, after having already served his sentence. Apparently free speech is in jeopardy in Indiana on more than one front. The Seattle Times reports:
An Indiana Little League coach accused of threatening national security by teaching government job applicants how to beat lie-detector tests was sentenced Friday to eight months in prison.

Prosecutors asked a federal judge to send a “strong message” by sentencing Chad Dixon to prison in their crackdown aimed at deterring other such polygraph instructors. They described Dixon, of Marion, Ind., as a “master of deceit” who taught as many as 100 people — including child molesters, intelligence employees and law-enforcement applicants — how to beat lie detectors. ...

Dixon’s defense attorney, Nina Ginsberg, accused prosecutors of trying to turn her client into a “poster child for its newly undertaken campaign” to stop people from using the techniques. While she acknowledged her client earned about $1,000 a session for teaching as many as 70 people, she said he was mostly teaching people how to pass polygraph tests demanded by spouses who suspected infidelity.
I hesitate to make this comparison, because Dan never encouraged anyone to break the law. He did once encourage people to send their opinions to a judicial official, but his purpose was always to get court officials to obey the law, not break the law. For that, he served 3 years in prison.

Update: Here is the oral argument.


Anonymous said...

Actually it looks like Brewington served more like 2-1/2 years, about half of his five-year sentence -- two years for intimidating the psychologist and his wife/colleague, two years for intimidating the judge and his wife/judicial employee, and one year for perjury when he said he didn't know she was married to the judge.

Eugene Volokh winged in from out of state and did much of the argument for the appellant. Surprisingly, the attorney general asked the court to affirm in part and reverse in part, but it wasn't clear to me whether that simply meant to uphold the ruling of the appellate court.

One justice seemed to agree that calling the judge a child abuser was okay, but child molester would be going too far. Another judge seemed to think the perjury conviction was okay, so it's doubtful that Brewington will get off entirely. The chief justice asked about procedural matters, whether objections had been raised at trial, so maybe they'll toss the appeal because Brewington had a crummy public defender.

I got the impression they'll take the case since it has drawn national attention and made it seem like Indiana is a backwater of restricted speech.

Anonymous said...

George, you didn't make it clear in the second case that those were federal prosecutors from Obama's Justice Dept. asking a judge to "send a message" by imprisoning the Hoosier the way his State and Defense Departments want to "send a message" by launching missiles at the Syrians.

Anonymous said...

Chad Dixon plead guilty.

He was also not smart enough to go to an attorney prior to designing the course and advertise it as non-treasonous.

Chad is an idiot and clearly Chad is not a fighter.