News & Resources

Turning Courtroom Discontent Into Raw Social Media Hostility in the Digital Public Square Gets Florida Attorney Nowhere

Since February 27, Florida lawyer Ashley Ann Krapacs has been suspended from practicing law in the state until further notice. She claims First Amendment protection.  The Florida Bar and Supreme Court of Florida point out that even the First Amendment has limits, and especially so when attorneys licensed by the state engage in threatening or demeaning speech. Unhappy with the results of a case, she reportedly launched an “attack of massive and continuous proportions” via […]

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Appeals Court Strikes Florida County Prayer Policy

“Secular invocations . . . from any organization whose precepts, tenets or principles espouse or promote reason, science, environmental factors, nature or ethics as guiding forces…must be placed on the Public Comment section of the secular business agenda.  Pre-meeting invocations shall continue to be delivered by persons from the faith-based community . . .” If this recent local government policy makes you bristle, then you already have a good understanding of the Establishment Clause, a […]

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Student Newspaper Puts Journalism Protections to the Test

In 2013, the University of Massachusetts Boston student paper The Mass Media published an article titled, “Have You Seen This Man?” to help local police follow up on a case of a report of the man suspiciously photographing women on campus.  The news report was based upon a police incident report — a traditional source of information important to communities about public safety. Then, upon investigation, police cleared the man and found no reason to […]

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Appeals Court Affirms That Elected Officials Can’t Block Critics on Twitter

Questions on First Amendment rights violations in the new digital public square continue to circulate in the lower court systems across the country.  However, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently solidified the precedent that social media accounts of elected officials (specifically President Trump’s Twitter account, in one case) can be public or private — not both. And don’t think the President is alone in responding to unflattering tweets with attempts to block dissenters; […]

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Congressman Under Investigation by Bar for Public Statements

The Florida Bar has opened an ethics investigation on Congressman Matt Gaetz following a tweet in February that many thought sounded like witness intimidation leading up to congressional testimony by Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney. Congressman Gaetz tweeted: “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…” He […]

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Federal Judge Stands Up for Press Freedoms in the Age of Assault on the Media

After thoughtful review of the evidence and careful consideration, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida dismissed a defamation suit against Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Eric Lipton. A former professor at the University of Florida and a vocal proponent for the benefits of GMO crops, scientist Kevin Folta cited 32 statements within Lipton’s 2015 article investigating Monsanto’s ties with the scientist and the academic community in relation to GMOs. […]

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