Wisconsin appeals judge tosses Facebook conviction

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Prosecutors didn't immediately return a message.

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.


The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 265700441 - weau.com/a?a=265700441
Gray Television, Inc.