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Curtailing the First Amendment Protection to Discovery

By   /  December 4, 2013  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Featured 

Bill of Rights

Parents and natural guardians, Vivian G. and Juan F., on behalf of their daughter Krystal G., and in their individual capacities filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the parish, congregation, church, school (“Vincentian defendants”), and former pastor Joseph Agostino (“Agostino”) for allegedly negligently hiring, retaining and supervising former assistant pastor “Cortez.” Defendant Agostino moved to dismiss the claims against him in a summary judgment motion.

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The Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Constitution: Protesters Preoccupied with the First Amendment

By   /  December 2, 2013  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Featured 

Gavel with Book

Defendant Ronnie Nunez was arrested and charged with “[t]respass, [d]isorderly conduct, and [o]bstructing [g]overnmental [a]dministration in the [s]econd [d]egree.” Although the defendant moved to have the accusatory instrument against him suppressed and all charges dismissed, his motion was denied and the case went to trial. The charges against the defendant were the result of his active participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

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Don’t Feed the Deer: Misapplications of Statutory Vagueness and the First Amendment Overbreadth Doctrine

By   /  November 27, 2013  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Featured 

Constitution

Appellant Robert Gabriel was convicted in the Town of Highland Justice Court for violating a provision of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law prohibiting feeding wild white-tailed deer or wild moose save for five enumerated exceptions. On appeal, the County Court addressed three issues: first, whether sufficient evidence existed to convict the appellant of feeding white-tailed deer in violation of the statute; second, whether the statute was unconstitutionally vague, both facially and as applied; and third, whether the statutory limitation upon First Amendment rights was unconstitutionally overbroad.

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Second Circuit Stands on its Head, Affirming Stewart

By   /  April 15, 2013  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Online Exclusive 

Scales of Justice and Gavel

Lynne Stewart, graduate of Rutgers School of Law, once had a prominent career as a civil rights attorney. She participated in many high-profile cases, representing members of the mafia and the Black Liberation Army, but most recently found herself on trial for federal crimes.

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Condoms: The New Medium of Expression Protected by the First Amendment

By   /  June 1, 2012  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law 

Freedom of Speech

“To read the term ‘other similar written matter’ to mean written materials physically similar to ‘newspapers, periodicals, books, pamphlets,’ i.e. printed materials, would not serve the legislature’s intent to promote free speech and freedom of press and otherwise prevent AC section 20-453 from unconstitutionally restricting expression. Rather, the term ‘other similar written matter’ must mean similar insofar as it is a vehicle for speech and expression akin to a newspaper, periodical, book or pamphlet.”

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The First Amendment’s Freedom of Harassment

By   /  June 1, 2012  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law 

Man Screaming into Telephone

In People v. Pierre-Louis, the Nassau County District Court found that the defendant’s use of profane language, although “vituperative in nature,” was protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In holding that the defendant’s statements were constitutionally protected speech, the court in Pierre-Louis first recognized that free speech is a fundamental right granted by the First Amendment [...]

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Ambiguity in the Realm of Defamation: Rhetorical Hyperbole or Provable Falsity?

By   /  June 1, 2012  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law 

Gavel with Flag

Ambiguity in the Realm of Defamation: Rhetorical Hyperbole or Provable Falsity? discusses the recent case of Gorilla v. New York Times in which the Supreme Court of New York, Kings County held that statements made by employees concerning their work environment were not defamatory because when viewed in context the statements appeared to be mere opinions. The case note goes on to explore the seminal differences between New York and federal law with regard to a prominent issue surrounding claims for defamation–whether alleged defamatory statements constitute fact or opinion. The case note examines the different methods used by jurisdictions to distinguish fact from opinion in an effort to preserve the integrity of one’s reputation while simultaneously upholding traditional free speech protections.

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Lawyering Decisions—October 2009 Term

By   /  June 1, 2011  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Professional Responsibility 

Supreme Court over Pool

Many Supreme Court observers have commented on the unusual number of cases decided last Term that involved some aspect of lawyering. In fact, one commentator described the phenomenon as “ ‘nothing short of a revolution.’ ” Whether it qualifies as a revolution or not, it is certainly notable that the Supreme Court’s “incredible shrinking docket” included as many cases as it did that directly impacted the practice of law.

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First Amendment Freedom of Speech and Religion—October 2009 Term

By   /  June 1, 2011  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law 

Freedom of Speech Banner

The First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court were, quite possibly, this Term’s most important decisions. The cases to be discussed cover campaign financing, support to foreign terrorist groups, religious symbols on public property, and conflicts between equality and freedom of association.

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Recent Case: People v. Larsen

By   /  June 1, 2011  /  1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law 

Freedom of Speech Sign

Defendants Thomas Larsen and Edward Wardle were charged with “displaying and offering for sale condoms on the street without a general vendor license” in violation of section 20-453 of New York’s Administrative Code. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that their First Amendment right to unencumbered political speech was violated by this New York statute because the condom wrappers included printed political messages that constituted a “written matter” exception to the statute.

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