by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 11th 2009 3:05pm
A bunch of folks have been submitting this story about a blogger who was effectively arrested for blogging about the police, raising a series of free speech issues. As the article notes, the woman hardly makes for a sympathetic symbol of free speech rights. She appears to be a racist supporter of segregation and also seems to have an obsession with the local drug enforcement task force, posting all sorts of information about what they were doing and who was on the task force. But the question is whether any of it actually broke the law. What led to her arrest was posting home address info -- and a photo of the home -- of an officer on the task force. However, as the article linked above notes, that information was gleaned from public sources that anyone could have looked up had they chosen to do so. Making that a crime doesn't seem to make much sense. The police didn't even charge her with obstruction of justice, but with "identifying a police officer with intent to harass." The problem is such a law is so broad, it raises serious First Amendment issues. The woman isn't exactly a model citizen, but it still seems like a stretch to arrest her for revealing information that is already public.
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