1st Amendment

Florida Statute Criminalizes School Shooting & Bombing Threats – How Does Law Enforcement Locate People Who Post Online Threats? (O.P-G. v. Florida)

Two days after the Parkland School shooting in Broward County, a middle school student twenty miles away in Miami Lakes, Florida decided to post on YouTube the following: “I[’]m going to shoot my school in [F]lorida[.] [I’]m only 13[.] I got bull[ied] and [I’]m getting my revenge with my guns[.] …

1st Amendment

The First Amendment and the Hurdles to Obtain an Injunction in Florida for Social Media Cyberstalking (Derek Warren Logue v. Lauren Frances Book)

A Florida trial court entered an injunction for stalking against the appellant for, among other things, posting a picture of the appellee’s house with her address, a song video with obscene title and lyrics, and a cartoon depicting the appellee with an obscene reference. The appellant filed an appeal, claiming …

1st Amendment

Three Steps to Understanding Why Government Officials Cannot Block Users on Social Media (Knight First Amendment Institute et al. v. Donald J. Trump et al.)

There is some confusion about the recent Second Circuit opinion as to how, on a private social media platform, a government official, using a personal account, cannot block other users. The following three step process should lead just about everyone to understand the outcome. The case is Knight First Amendment …

1st Amendment

“Valid Grounds for Employment Action” Deemed Not Enough for Stalking Injunction under F.S. 784.048 (Klenk v. Ransom)

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal held today that a respondent’s behavior may be enough for an “employment action” (presumably, for termination due to sexual harassment) but, in this case, was not enough for the “exacting standard” for an injunction against stalking under Florida Statute 748.048. The case is Joseph …

1st Amendment

Applying “Old” Laws to New Technology: Smartphones, Recordings, Privacy (at FAU)

Special thanks to attorney / instructor Larry Buck for inviting me to speak to his Florida Atlantic University “Law in the Real World” honors class about my practice, particularly how we apply traditional laws to new, emerging technologies. We discussed: drone regulation First Amendment and social media (US v. Hobgood, …

1st Amendment

Is a Demand for an Apology = Extortion? (Social Media & First Amendment:U.S. v. Hobgood)

In the song, “Hello,” Adele sings as a jilted lover, calling “a thousand times… to tell you I’m sorry.” It became a hit song in 2015. Contrast that with the facts of U.S. v. Hobgood, out of the Eighth Circuit, where the defendant had a brief romantic relationship with “KB,” …

1st Amendment

3D Gun Printing: Bad Idea the First Amendment Likely Will Permit

I read with interest Thomas Julin‘s article, “Weaponized First Amendment Does Not Protect Blueprints for Weapons” in the Daily Business Review. The link is here. Tom sets out the current status of the debate, cites an authority, and concludes that the First Amendment “will not protect publication of information for …

1st Amendment

Trump Cannot Block Twitter Users: Knight First Amendment Institute et al. v. Trump et al.

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York has issued a 75-page Memorandum and Order concluding that President Trump cannot block Twitter users because aspects of his @realdonaldtrump account is a government-controlled forum and Trump’s viewpoint-based exclusion of the plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by …

1st Amendment

Christopher Hopkins discusses First Amendment & Social Media at University of Miami Law School

A special thanks to professor Jan Jacobowitz for inviting me to speak about the First Amendment and Social Media as part of her Social Media and the Law class at the University of Miami Law School. Some of the cases we covered include: Elonis v US US v Elonis In …

1st Amendment

Conspiracy Professor James Tracy v. FAU – Court Ruling and Answers in a “story of two competing narratives”

Professor James Tracy was fired by Florida Atlantic University in January 2016 and filed suit shortly thereafter claiming, inter alia, his First Amendment rights were violated.  This case, you may recall, involves a South Florida professor who made national news claiming that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.  Going back …

1st Amendment

Bad Month for Sandy Hook Truthers in Palm Beach, Florida: (1) James Tracy v FAU dismissed and (2) indictment in U.S. v. Lucy Richards

In unrelated court proceedings in West Palm Beach, Florida, two Sandy Hook Truthers suffered losses resulting in a dismissal and indictment, respectively.  A university professor who writes blog posts denying the Sandy Hook shooting received a sternly-worded Order of Dismissal which gutted several of his claims while permitting his lawyers a …

1st Amendment

Can Your Clients Be Convicted for Threats on Social Media?

A Florida high school student posted online, “Can’t WAIT to shoot up my school.”  “It’s time” and “School getting shot up on a Tuesday.” He was arrested for violating Florida Statute 836.10 (“written threats statute”).  Then he was convicted.  But the appellate court reversed. You can read the Florida Second …

1st Amendment

Former Conspiracy Theory Professor James Tracy Sues FAU

A former tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida sued the school, president, trustees, as well as his former union and union representatives for inter alia wrongful termination and breach of contract premised upon First Amendment claims and a dispute over signing an “Outside Activity” form. This …

1st Amendment

Christopher Hopkins “Anatomy of an Internet Defamation Case” at University of Miami Law School

I am pleased to discuss “Anatomy of an Internet Defamation Case” with Professor Jan Jacobowitz‘s Social Media & the Law class at the University of Miami Law School. In this presentation, we briefly discuss Elonis v. United States and we analyze the claims, defenses, and potential strategies of a pending …

1st Amendment

Understanding Recent Case re First Amendment & Recording of Police

A recent trial court order from a federal judge in Philadelphia regarding whether a person has a First Amendment right to record or photograph police activity has gotten a fair amount of media attention and has even been labeled, “a bizarre ruling.” Agree with it or not, the analysis is …