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Name: People v. Peterson (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1061
Case #: A163458
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/26/2023

There was insufficient evidence to support defendant's stalking conviction (Pen. Code, § 646.9(a)), which was based on his speech, because his conduct was not a "true threat" under the First Amendment. Defendant was convicted of stalking a politician and his family based on (1) the defendant’s odd comments to the politician’s wife at an open house event in support of a school bond measure, (2) reposting on Facebook a publicly available photo of the politician’s family with comments about the open house event and the politician’s children, and (3) a rambling letter against local politics addressed to the politician’s wife…

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Name: Counterman v. Colorado (2023) __ U.S. __ [143 S.Ct. 2106]
Case #: 22-138
Court: US Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 06/27/2023

Majority opinion: Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the court, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and Jackson joined.
Concurring opinion: Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Gorsuch joined in part.
Dissenting opinions: Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Barrett filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined.

In a prosecution based on true threats, the First Amendment requires proof of the defendant’s subjective mens rea—the prosecution must show he consciously disregarded a substantial risk that his communications would be viewed as threatening violence. A jury…

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Name: In re J.M.
Case #: F077508
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/24/2019

Minor's verbal act of making a false bomb report was not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. J.M., a minor, was speaking with a friend at school, A.B., when he told her he was going to "blow up the school, shoot it," and that he knew how to get an Army grenade. A.B. thought he was joking, but was not sure so she told a teacher. J.M. was adjudged a ward of the court (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602), following a finding that he made a false report that a bomb or other explosive device…

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Name: In re A.A.
Case #: B289821
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/20/2018

Minor's First Amendment rights were not violated by a probation condition prohibiting him from posting on social media about his case. During juvenile court proceedings against A.A., the court admonished him for posting a photo of his court subpoena with a caption describing himself as a 16-year-old felon and a subsequent video of A.A. dancing in front of the courthouse. The court sustained a petition alleging A.A. committed battery with serious bodily injury and placed him on probation with a condition prohibiting him from discussing his case on social media. On appeal, A.A. challenged the probation condition as vague and…

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Name: In re L.O.
Case #: A151967
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/26/2018

Preventing minor ward's access to social media websites as a condition of probation violates the First Amendment and requires modification of the term. The minor was granted probation following the juvenile court's true finding he committed misdemeanor battery and had four prior offenses. The terms of his probation subjected him to searches of his electronic devices and barred him from using social networking websites. On appeal, the minor challenged the probation conditions as unconstitutional. Held: Probation term prohibiting access to social media websites modified. When the juvenile court places a minor on probation it may impose reasonable conditions to the…

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Name: Packingham v. North Carolina
Case #: 15-1194
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/18/2017
Subsequent History: 137 S.Ct. 1730

North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing commercial social networking websites that the offender knows are used by minors, violates the First Amendment. Defendant was a registered sex offender who posted a statement on his Facebook profile about beating a traffic ticket. He was convicted of violating a North Carolina statute making it a felony for a sex registrant to access a commercial social networking site that he knows permits minors to become members or to create or maintain a personal web page (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-202.5(a), (e)). The Court of Appeals of North Carolina struck…

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Name: People v. Starski
Case #: A145450
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/05/2017

Trial court's jury instructions on the unlicensed practice of law were not overbroad and did not infringe on defendant's right to freedom of speech. Holding himself out to be an attorney, Starski wrote a letter to the owner of a lumber business, claiming his "client" (codefendant Cornett) had been injured at the store and sought a financial settlement. This led to a prosecution for the unlawful practice of law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6126), which was also the basis for felony charges of attempted grand theft, conspiracy to commit the unlawful practice of law, and conspiracy to commit grand…

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Name: People v. Morera-Munoz
Case #: A148325
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/18/2016

Vehicle Code section 31, which criminalizes the making of false statements to peace officers who are engaged in the performance of their duties, does not violate the First Amendment. While being questioned by police regarding the possibility that he was driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), defendant denied that he had been drinking. He was subsequently charged with various DUI misdemeanors and for providing false information to police (Veh. Code, § 31). He was found guilty of violating section 31. He appealed to the appellate division of the superior court, arguing that section 31 violates the First Amendment by…

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Name: In re Chase C.
Case #: D067787
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/18/2015

Evidence that minor verbally encouraged other minors not to cooperate with police was insufficient to sustain a true finding that he resisted, delayed, or obstructed a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148). Based on a tip, an officer suspected that two minors in a group of other minors were selling drugs and ordered the entire group to sit on a curb. After one of the suspect minors was uncooperative, Chase, who was not a suspect, told him not to listen or obey the officer. Another officer arrived and detained and handcuffed all the other nonsuspect minors who were standing around.…

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Name: Raef v. Appellate Division of Superior Court
Case #: B259792
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/30/2015

Vehicle Code section 40008 does not violate the First Amendment. Raef, a paparazzo, was charged with a number of offenses after he engaged in a high-speed pursuit of pop star Justin Bieber, including two counts of violating Vehicle Code section 40008, subdivision (a), which increases the punishment for reckless driving and other traffic offenses committed with the intent to capture an image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose. The trial court dismissed those counts on the ground that section 40008 violates the First Amendment. The appellate division reversed and reinstated the counts. Raef…

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