Wisconsin appeals judge tosses Facebook conviction

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin appellate judge says an Arena man was within his rights when he posted profane insults toward police on Facebook.

MGN Online

Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 -- 11:13 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin appellate judge says an Arena man was within his rights when he posted profane insults toward police on Facebook.

Iowa County prosecutors charged Thomas Smith with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computerized communication system in 2012 after he posted profanity-laced comments on Facebook calling Arena officers racists. A jury convicted him on both counts last year.

He argued on appeal the convictions violated his free speech rights. Prosecutors countered the remarks amounted to fighting words, which aren't protected by the First Amendment.

Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Paul Lundsten tossed out the convictions on Thursday. He said case law from across the country indicates that fighting words must be uttered face-to-face and remarks delivered through remote communications don't qualify.

Prosecutors didn't immediately return a message.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
NBC15 615 Forward Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53711 Business: 608-274-1515 Newsroom: 608-274-1500
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 265707391 - nbc15.com/a?a=265707391
Gray Television, Inc.