The reasoning is strange. The court agreed that the Indiana law, as applied by the judge and appeals court, is unconstitutional, that the jury was improperly instructed, that Brewington had a free speech right to make the individual statements that he did, but that he is somehow guilty anyway because he showed a "persistent, single-minded obsession" with wanting to see his kids and because his lawyer failed to educate the judge on how the Indiana legal system had been miscontruing the First Amendment.
This makes no sense. He has already served his 3 to 5 years in prison, and is now a free man, but he did not deserve to be a convicted felon. It appears to me that the judges just don't like his attitude, and will twist the law any way they can to punish him.
Update: UCLA law professor and free speech expert writes:
The court also concluded that defendant’s accusations of “child abuse” and “abducti[on]” against the judge, which the lower court viewed as factual falsehoods, were instead constitutionally protected opinion. “Reasonable readers would understand ‘child abuse’ or ‘abducting’ as Defendant’s exaggerated opinion of the decree’s custody ruling — not factual assertions that the Judge actually beats or kidnaps children.” That too is an important conclusion, for reasons given here.Volokh is being polite by not speaking about "invited error". The only way Brewington "invited error" was by standing trial under an unconstitutional law.
And the court concluded that even threats of violence are punishable under Indiana law only if they are intended to put the target in fear (and not just sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear). In the process, the court suggested that the First Amendment precedents are best interpreted as requiring such a conscious purpose; there is a disagreement among lower courts on the question. ...
I can’t speak to whether this decision is correct given the trial record and the state of Indiana “invited error” law. But I am glad that the Indiana Supreme Court recognized and reversed the legal error in the Indiana Court of Appeals opinion — the thing that my clients (who were the amici, not the defendant) were concerned about. Threatening to harshly criticize people’s actions, and thus to expose them to ridicule and disgrace (at least outside the special case of blackmail) is legal again in Indiana.