'Fake News' Results In Real Jail Time For Ohio Woman

from the never-mind-the-Constitution dept

It appears fake news is a crime in the United States -- at least in Ohio. Jacob Sullum at Reason reports an Ohio woman has just been jailed for repeating an unfounded rumor about a gun being found on school grounds.

Last week Barberton Municipal Judge David Fish sentenced Erin Croghan to three days in jail, a month of house arrest, and a year without social media for "inducing panic" by using Facebook to repeat an unfounded rumor about a pellet gun found at a local school. It could have been worse. Inducing panic is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, meaning it is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

As Sullum points out, this sentencing appears to ignore the First Amendment, which allows for the spreading of stupidity, even if the stupidity could conceivably provoke reactions from those who come across it.

The school claims the repeating of the unfounded rumor -- months after the alleged event had happened -- disrupted school administration. Apparently, the principal of Coventry Middle School "spent the entire day" answering phone calls from parents who had read Croghan's post. Croghan's post -- referencing a rumor she had heard from her daughter the previous November -- hit Facebook shortly after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The impact of her post certainly was felt by the school, but did it really meet the "serious public inconvenience or alarm" standard needed to convict Croghan? That seems unlikely. As her defense pointed out, the school didn't alert parents, go into lockdown mode, or do anything else that would signal it believed the unfounded rumor to be true.

Croghan either believed the rumor was true or deliberately inflamed the rumor to… well, that question remains unanswered. Even the judge handing down the sentence seemed at a loss for words.

Barberton Municipal Judge David Fish also put Erin Croghan on probation for one year and ordered that she refrain from using social media during that time.

“I wish I understood why you conflated this story about a pellet gun in a locker that school officials say never happened,” Fish said. “That may remain an eternal mystery.”

Therein lies the other problem with the sentence: prior restraint. Just because the incident Croghan was sentenced for occurred on Facebook doesn't justify the revocation of this privilege for an entire year. This is in addition to a sentence of 180 days in jail (with 147 suspended and 30 days of house arrest) -- all over the spread of info Croghan may have sincerely believed to be true.

The school claims Croghan knew the rumor was false, offering up perhaps the most unbelievable justification for this claim:

Coventry schools officials say what Croghan posted wasn’t true and that she knew it because they told her.

Right. No one has ever lied about anything. Except Croghan. Apparently.

The end result is a ruling that will be used to punish more people for spreading rumors on social media. Ohio needs to start pouring money into their jail system if this is the way these cases are going to be handled, as Croghan's lawyer points out:

"If we're going to charge every person who puts misinformation on Facebook," [Jeff ]Laybourne told the jury, "this place will be inundated."

The sentence is being appealed. This will likely be followed by a lawsuit, especially if the sentence is overturned. The application of the state law in this fashion criminalizes ignorance. And, in this case, it comes with additional Constitutional violations (prior restraint) that make it litigation bait. Handing out jail time in response to "fake news" is the worst way to handle careless -- but protected -- speech. Sooner or later, Ohio taxpayers are going to be paying real dollars to settle cases stemming from "fake news" arrests.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 11:11am

    The application of the state law in this fashion criminalizes ignorance.

    And the last thing we need in this country is the functional equivalent of the "war on drugs," where we put a ridiculously large swath of the country in jail for just being who they are.

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  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 11:24am

    So if our illustrious politicians from Ohio use social media to spread alternative facts I can look forward to their arrests and convictions on counts of "inducing panic"?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 11:54am

    Missing a few details in the summary.

    It seems someone forgot to mention that she'd asked about the incident months earlier when it happened and was told it wasn't on school grounds. Then she brought it up three months later and was again told that it didn't happen on school grounds. Then she started putting up inflammatory posts claiming that a gun was found on school grounds and that the school was lying and covering it up even though she had no proof.

    She was deliberately trying to stir up shit and cause other parents to panic. That is not protected speech. That's being an asshole.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:04pm

      Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

      It is still protected.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

        Then she'll have to challenge the law itself on constitutional grounds because she does seem to have clearly violated the statute:

        No person shall cause the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or alarm, by doing any of the following:

        (1) Initiating or circulating a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe, knowing that such report or warning is false;

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

          1. She believed it to be true according to her account. She believed the authorities were lying.

          2. Even if she knew they were lying, it still needs to create an immediate reaction, like saying it to someone's face in the middle of the school. Posting on social media won't do that.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

            1. She believed it to be true according to her account. She believed the authorities were lying.

            That would make the law impossible to enforce. As long as every person charged said they thought it was true, it would be the perfect defense. You could call in a bomb threat and say you really believed there was a bomb. Can she prove they were lying? Did she have a reasonable cause for believing it to be true? The article says she heard a rumor second hand. That doesn't rise to the level of proof for justifiably causing a panic.

            1. Even if she knew they were lying, it still needs to create an immediate reaction, like saying it to someone's face in the middle of the school. Posting on social media won't do that.

            Did you read the statute? It doesn't say anything about immediate reaction or conveying the panic-inducing claim in person.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              1. Exactly. It is a bad law for this case. But your bomb threat is a completely different matter since that is intended to immediately cause panic. This event happened months after the fact. A better example would be

                "You could mention hearing about a bomb threat last semester and say you really believed there was a bomb." that is clearly protected, even if she is an idiot.

              2. Again, the statute is a bad law for this case. It is intended to punish bomb threats made by people against the school with the intent of the bomb going off immediately or in the near future. Posting on social media months after the event does not meet that requirement. The state was wrong to punish her here.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

                But I will play along here. Where, exactly, was the "serious public inconvenience or alarm" by posting of an even months after the fact?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:37pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

                But your bomb threat is a completely different matter since that is intended to immediately cause panic.

                The statute says nothing about immediate. You're adding wording that isn't there.

                Again, the statute is a bad law for this case. It is intended to punish bomb threats made by people against the school with the intent of the bomb going off immediately or in the near future. Posting on social media months after the event does not meet that requirement.

                There is no such requirement in the statute. Did you write this law and therefore can speak to its intent? If it was intended to include language about the immediacy of the fake threat, why wasn't that included? But that's a pointless debate. The panic was caused by the reporting by the defendant months later. It doesn't matter that the thing being reported supposedly happened in the past. People panicked shortly after the posts for which the defendant was charged.

                It's fine to say you think the statute is a violation of the 1st Amendment and invalid, but stop making up false claims about what the statute says when the link to it is right there in the article.

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            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              > That would make the law impossible to enforce.

              That's the government's problem, not the citizen's.

              We don't lose our rights just because the government wrote a law that's hard to enforce. Or put another way, it's not the job of the citizen to ease the burden on the government.

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            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              > That doesn't rise to the level of proof for justifiably
              > causing a panic.

              There's no evidence that anyone panicked in this case. Just a cheesed-off principal who had to answer a bunch of phone calls.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 3:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

          Apparently, the principal of Coventry Middle School "spent the entire day" answering phone calls from parents who had read Croghan's post.

          ...

          That seems unlikely. As her defense pointed out, the school didn't alert parents, go into lockdown mode, or do anything else that would signal it believed the unfounded rumor to be true.

          Truly, the amount of panic that resulted from her post was positively staggering. I mean an entire day's worth of phone calls(not parents concerned enough to pick their kids up mind, just call)? That's just a few steps shy of a mob really.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

        It is still protected.

        The woman was shouting “Fire!” in a theatre.

         

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

            Charles T. Schenck was convicted, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment upon each count.

            His conviction was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              First of all, he was punsihed for a pamphlet, not the "fire in a crowded theater". Second, as Mr. White goes into detail, the Supreme Court has been walking back from that case for decades now.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

                Schenck was punished for fifteen thousand pamphlets.

                Fifteen thousand.

                Fifteen thousand pamphlets.

                 

                 

                And the case wasn't ‘walked back’ in the cases of Abrams, nor Debs, nor even Whitney, neither.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary

                  I am not a legal scholar. I will leave it to Mr. White's blog post to disagree with you.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the sum

                    The two defendants in Abrams were sentenced to 10 and 20 years in prison.

                    Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

                    Charlotte Whitney was given an indeterminate sentence of 1 to 14 years imprisonment on one count. She went to San Quentin prison.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              And you obviously didn’t read the link, if that’s the hill you’re still trying to die on.

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            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

              > Charles T. Schenck was convicted, and sentenced to 10
              > years imprisonment upon each count.

              > His conviction was unanimously upheld by the Supreme
              > Court of the United States.

              And most importantly, the Schenck decision was overruled decades later and replaced with a new test in Brandenburg v. Ohio. Schenck is no longer valid law in 1st Amendment jurisprudence.

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        • identicon
          peter, 28 Dec 2018 @ 2:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

          "The woman was shouting “Fire!” in a theatre"

          Well no. Since you brought it up, she was doing the equivalent of claiming that there had been a fire in a theatre a few months ago.

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        • identicon
          Bruce C., 28 Dec 2018 @ 3:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

          ...and it would be great to finally have a recent case that clearly delineates the boundaries of that supposed exception to free speech.

          The trouble with that analogy is that she wasn't on campus shouting that there was a gun. She wasn't contacting students and teachers; she posted on facebook. So she wasn't even in the "theatre"/school at all.

          OTOH, if she really thought it was a big enough deal to post on facebook as a "warning" to everyone, she should have called the police. Especially if she thought school officials were lying about it.

          Bottom line is that she showed poor judgment (if you're going to succumb to your conspiracy theories in the first place, it's better to go all-in so your story stays consistent, rather than just posting something half-assed on Facebook) and sometimes poor judgment ends up in criminal behavior. I'll be interested to see if this proves to be one of those cases, despite the first amendment.

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      identicon
      Eva Dently, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

      It seems someone forgot to mention

      Yeah, that'd spoil the slant minion wants.

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    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

      So what you are trying to say is she screamed fire in a crowded theater so she deserves to be punished?

      Prior restraint is illegal, it violates her rights and after a very costly lawsuit the state will pursue trying to pretend SCOTUS never said that, there will be even more 0's on her settlement.

      If an administrator was so put out having to answer questions from concerned parents, perhaps they are in the wrong job. The real crime is the assistant was off so they boss had to handle the calls.

      Ohio needs to round up ever fscking Anti-Vaxxer and punish them, they are inducing panic in parents.
      Then the politicians who rails against the imaginary others who are responsible for all of the bad things that happen without evidence.
      Then anything Trump says because hes proven to be lying about very serious things to rile people up and panic them that MS-13 is under each and everyone of their beds.
      Then all of the adherents of Qanon who go on and on about the democratic pedophile ring that Trump will bring down just as soon as he defeats the Deep State.

      Parent hears mention of a gun being seen, teacher kicks it up the chain, who tell her it wasn't on campus. A mass shooting happens elsewhere & she remembers the story about a gun being seen & how she wasn't quite satisfied about the answer because people in power NEVER lie to cover their own asses.

      (Aside: Kids on the bus saw another student in his yard with a pellet gun, allegedly. No details about on the way to or from school or time of day.)

      Mother who is most likely convinced that man walking towards the Target behind her in the parking lot is a human trafficker, gets upset about Parkland & mentions something from months ago she head & OMG WE GOT PHONE CALLS! It sounds like they weren't that polite in responding to her concern which of course set off the ever popular the more they say no the more true it must be.

      Well we told her it was just a rumor...tell me what your boss said to you 6 months ago on a thursday... you might not remember that detail but you remember that you almost were in a car accident because it upset you.

      This is bullshit and one can only hope the number of 0's on her settlement keep growing. Her crime was making an employee answer phone calls & making them mad, so the found a way to punish her... and its going to bite them in the ass hard.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:41pm

        Re: Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

        Oh just noticed going deeper into the stories she has a case against the police department as well...

        "She said Summit County Sheriff Deputy Brian Breeden visited Croghan and asked her to delete her posts and to stop making new posts because she was causing public alarm."

        "Coventry Superintendent Blough said if Croghan had stopped her posts in the beginning, the case wouldn’t have been necessary. She said people with safety concerns should contact her or another administrator.

        “Posting on Facebook is not an effective way to get things resolved,” she said. “This case clearly shows that.″

        Banbury was pleased by the jury’s decision.

        “I think justice was served and I think she needs treatment,” she said of Croghan."

        So posting denials on facebook was not an effective way of dealing with this??

        Sooo many 0's on the lawsuit.

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 29 Dec 2018 @ 2:24am

      Re: Missing a few details in the summary.

      "She was deliberately trying to stir up shit and cause other parents to panic. That is not protected speech. That's being an asshole."

      Right, and that's why Trump is being prosecuted!

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 11:59am

    Reading the whole article, this judge must have some connection with the school, all she did was report what she heard on facebook. This Judge - David Fish, Presiding Judge Phone: 330-861-7217 is a real asshole. Someone should let him know he may have made a first amendment faux pas.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      Doxxing him makes you a real asshole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re:

        Only if that's his personal phone number.

        Posting the government phone number of a government employee so that they can be contacted during work about the concerns of citizens isn't 'doxxing'. It's called making them do their job.

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    identicon
    Eva Dently, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:22pm

    did it really meet the "serious public inconvenience or alarm??

    That seems unlikely.

    Huh. Most severe case of cognitive dissonance you've shown for a while. She's convicted and you're still not certain.

    You have mania for "free speech" and somehow imagine that's a magic phrase which excuses all possible interference with the rights of others.

    I've composed a few and ran across some links that show the actual result when idiots test the practical limits on "free speech":

    To pirates especially millenials, these are life lessons / Ted talks / news:

    You Can't Shout "Allahu Akbar!" in Police Station.

    You Can't Shout "Fire!" in a Fire Station.

    You Can't Shout "Out Of The Water!" if no shark. (From an actual incident but honest mistake so no link.)

    You Can't Shout "Compete With Free!" if are costs.

    You Can't Shout "Run and Die!" at teenagers. THEY'RE BACK: 'Killer clown' shouting 'run and die' threatens boys 'with knife'...

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/killer-clown-shouting-run-die-13271627

    You Can't Shout [words sounding Arabic] while appearing to stab:

    Terrorized patrons took cover and ran for their lives after a man who appeared to be wearing a blood-soaked t-shirt walked into Terakawa Ramen screaming for help.

    https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2018/11/16/screams-of-terror-fill-philly-restaurant-after-s tabbing-prank/

    You can't Shout "Santa Claus isn't real!"

    Man arrested in Texas after telling kids Santa isn't real...

    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/12/08/manarrested-protestingat-breakfast-santa-e vent-cleburne-church

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:28pm

      Re: did it really meet the "serious public inconvenience or alar

      Your first linked anecdote about the clown happened in the US, so it wouldn't be relevant for a discussion about the 1st Amendment in the US.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: did it really meet the "serious public inconvenience or

        Doh, happened in the UK.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: you can’t even fail properly.

          Which is somewhat the point. Blue balls doesn’t even realise that there’s more that just Murica in this world and they have different rules there. Which renders his extremely stupid point even more moot.

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:16am

      Re: did it really meet the "serious public inconvenience or alar

      > You can't Shout "Santa Claus isn't real!"

      > Man arrested in Texas after telling kids Santa isn't
      > real...

      Nope. You didn't read your own story, did ya?

      He was arrested for trespassing on private property, not for what he said.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick-B, 28 Dec 2018 @ 12:49pm

    This story is even worse if we assume the school is the one lying about this, and got the government to crack down on someone saying the truth.

    We can't punish this type of speech, because the possibility that we punish it when the citizen is IN THE RIGHT is just so disturbing.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      But having proof of being right is a valid defense. If it was a valid cause for alarm, why didn't she present that in her defense? That's why we have trials. You get to defend yourself against such charges. It's not like she was just found guilty without due process.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 4:52pm

        Re: Re:

        The problem here is they didn't prove her guilty, she failed to prove herself innocent. It's a big and frightening difference.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 8:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          A jury found her guilty, so yeah, they did.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 11:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > A jury found her guilty, so yeah, they did.

            ?!?!?

            A verdict of guilt by a jury doesn't mean someone is *actually* guilty of the offense charged. Juries have found many innocent people guilty over the years.

            You've never heard those stories of guys sitting in prison for murder or rape, who end up being proven innocent by new DNA tests, etc.? Guess who put those guys in prison in the first place... yep, juries.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2018 @ 1:58pm

    The "free speech business model" doesn't work in an internet-connected world.

    The "legacy speech" industry is throwing a tantrum but needs to find a new business model instead.

    We're evolving into a species that doesn't bully, doesn't lie, has to be polite, isn't violent, etc. whether we like it or not. Please do not confuse my observation of this with my approval of it. It is merely the new reality.

    Adapt or be targeted by the thought police.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 28 Dec 2018 @ 4:10pm

    Criminalize inflammatory libel-- but with tough anti-SLAPP law

    I favor criminal prosecution of a false claim that a pizza parlor is raping and torturing children in a back room
    (subject to NY Times v. Sullivan standards)--
    but *only* if there is a criminal equivalent to a tough anti-SLAPP law. Defendants whose speech is justified under NY Times v. Sullivan standards should be reimbursed all their defense costs, and if the alleged libel was probably true, those prosecuting it should face prison time (and other criminal penalties) three times what the alleged libeler faced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave Casey, 28 Dec 2018 @ 7:24pm

    Fake News Results In Real Jail Time

    If this is the case, can we turn this law towards the flat earth morons? Every time they put something up on Youtube or Facebook it lowers the collective intelligence of the rest of the planet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2018 @ 10:12am

    I wonder if she did this on purpose, knowing the inevitable stupid response. Now she cashes in for MILLIONS from the state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 29 Dec 2018 @ 10:38am

    Appeal Does Seem Likely

    The sentence is being appealed

    It may be, since there is likely no provision in the sentencing statute permitting a ban on facebook posting.

    What is missing, however, is a statement that the conviction is being appealed, probably with arguments that [a] the statute itself violates the First Amendment and [b] the application to these facts violates the First Amendment. Near v. Minnesota, 238 U.S. 697 (US 1931).

    This appears the sort of case where everyone involved should have known that you should not prosecute someone for passing along rumors. Even if the rumors are untruthful and probably silly. I see an unsuccessful S:1983 action lurking here once the conviction and possibly statute are overturned. Unsuccessful mostly because the judges will find some way to apply a judicially-created immunity doctrine.

    This is probably an appropriate opportunity also to insult those who feel that there was evern any appropriate justification for the result in Schenck v. U.S., 249 U.S. 47 (US 1919). It was an embarassment in 1919, and Holmens spent much of the rest of his career trying to distance himself from it without being seen to do so. And, of course, Holmes is also the author of Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (US 1927), as if you need another opportunity to be embarrassed.

    So, for those of you above, referring to Schenck without derisive intent, please take this as a gratuitous insultment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Croghan, 16 Jan 2019 @ 2:49pm

    Corrections

    Erin Croghan is my daughter and I am well aware of her situation and the facts. I see and speak to her multiple tomes weekly and help her when I can filling the food cupboards she stocks every week. I offer some corrections needed in your article. thanked Erin for reporting it and said she turned it over to the Middle School. The story was NEVER a "rumor". It was an eye witness report told to Erin by one of her daughter's classmates. The Vice Principal of the Middle School testified he found the gun in some bushes at the middle school student's house. He did not say that the way he knew where to look was from my granddaughters classmate's story of seeing the gun, and only one 3rd grade boy also had a brother at the Middle School who sometimes rides home on his little brother's bus. (The witness did not know the older boy's name, but knew his brother who is also in her 3rd grade class.) Someone from the school returned Erin's call to the elementary school was returned by an unknown party (we think she was a part time counselor at the elementary school who only works on Thursdays). That call thanked Erin for reporting it and told my daughter that the gun was a broken pellet gun that was in his locker and no real threat from it. The Middle School Principal and Superintendent both denied that and the jury never heard that.

    1. The prosecutor started her opening remarks saying she "had no idea what Erin's motive was, in find she wished she did" and then ASSIGNED one to her FOUR TIMES during the trial that "she wanted attention". My daughter's attorney would not allow her take the stand nor would he call any of the supporting witnesses we gave him. He felt certain that defense witnesses were unnecessary. He was wrong.

    Thank you for you article, though. people should know that there may be a price to pay for "saying something if you see or hear something". Erin has appealed this conviction based on a number of points with a new attorney.

    Respectively,

    Michael Croghan

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Someone who knows here from the Community, 18 Jan 2019 @ 12:30pm

    I am a very good friend of Croghan. This was not a rumor! She learned of the pellet gun first hand from her daughters friend who saw the gun. The things that are not mentioned is that Erin builds free pantry Cupboards for the needy. She delivers meat to families that are struggling and she works hard for the Community for free. She would literally give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She reported the pellet gun 1st hand and was called back from someone from the elementary school thanking her more than once for calling it in and saying she was the only parent to catch this after they found the pellet gun. There is much more to this story but it would not be considered screaming fire in a crowded theater. It would be saying "hey, did anyone know there was a fire in this theater 3 months ago?" She tried to do the right thing in reporting it to the school. She got punished for doing so 3 months later because the school was covering thier own ass!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 4:23pm

    I'm ok with people getting punished when they lie to get attention. We have a serious problem with virtue signaling mental defectives these days. They cause real world financial problems with their mental problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Someone who knows her from the Community, 18 Jan 2019 @ 5:14pm

    What i said earlier about Croghan and the school covering thier ass is just my opinion. Thats all. I just wanted to make that clear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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