Articles Tagged with free speech

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How is social media evidence used in divorce proceedings?”

When we think of arguments involving the First Amendment and free speech, we often conjure up images of brave people taking stands on important topics. There are a number of landmark Supreme Court cases devoted to the subject, all examples of the power of the Constitution, which permits citizens to stand up and say or do what they want, even if it’s unpopular.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

A recent article in Bloomberg discusses the danger that comes when prosecutors become persecutors. Though everyone agrees it is important to obey the law, some prosecutors take the power to enforce our many laws and run wild with it. Interpreting often vague legislation broadly can give the government sweeping power to target nearly anyone it disagrees with. It’s for this reason that prosecutors are called to exercise restraint and use their extensive power only when absolutely necessary.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I ever plead guilty to a charge?”

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear North Carolina’s law that bans registered sex offenders from using or even accessing any social media that allows those under 18 to post, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more.

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Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

A Massachusetts teenager has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after evidence was discovered that the girl sent text messages to her boyfriend encouraging him to commit suicide. Conrad Roy III tragically took his own life in 2014 outside a Massachusetts K-Mart. Roy died inside his truck, and the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Should I talk to the police?”

 

Americans are well informed of the facts—and the rhetoric—surrounding the high-profile police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City this past summer. Most are just as familiar with killing of two New York City police officers last weekend by a man who said the point-blank shootings were retribution for Garner’s killing.

Man on computer Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe man—Ismaaiyl Brinsley—allegedly posted on the website Instagram some three hours before fatally shooting officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos that he was “Putting Wings on Pigs Today.” The term “pig” is an insulting form of slang that refers to a law-enforcement officer. One gives someone wings—a reference to angel’s wings—by murdering someone. Brinsely’s post, translated, meant he planned to kill some police officers.

Now police in Chicopee, Massachusetts are seeking a criminal complaint against a 27-year-old man who also allegedly used the phrase “put wings on pigs” in a post on his Facebook page. That man—Charles DiRosa—is not accused of killing anyone, but police view the comment as a threat, according to Chicopee Police Department spokesman Michael Wilk.

The complaint, filed by members of the detective bureau in Chicopee District Court, is described as a “show-cause” complaint. A report by the local CBS affiliate described the charge against DiRosa as a “Threat To Commit A Crime.” At the show-cause hearing, the District Court will decide whether the complaint is valid. If so, DiRosa will be entitled to have a trial to answer and defend against the charge.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

 

The Supreme Court entertained arguments this week in a case that could lead to the criminalization of some rap lyrics.

Eminem Charlotte Mecklenburg Threat Lawyer North Carolina Criminal AttorneyThe case involves a 31-year old “aspiring rapper who likes attention” named Anthony Douglas Elonis. In early 2010, Elonis’s wife left with the couple’s two small children. Not long after, Elonis was fired from his job at an amusement park after coworkers made at least five sexual harassment complaints against him.

Elonis took to Facebook to voice his opinions about his estranged wife, his former employer and his old coworkers.

The statements began with Elonis posting an “I wish” caption beneath a Halloween photo showing him holding a knife to a coworker’s neck. That coworker had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Elonis shortly before Elonis lost his job.

Elonis then began posting statements directed at his estranged wife. In one message, he wrote: “If I only knew then what I know now, I would have smothered your ass with a pillow, dumped your body in the back seat, dropped you off in Toad Creek, and made it look like a rape and murder.”

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