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First Amendment Protects Online Speech in Texas Harassment Case

Jan. 4, 2021, 5:34 PM

A Texas electronic communications harassment statute is unconstitutional because of its breadth and potential to chill free speech, a state appeals court said.

The statute, designed to protect people from online abuse and invasions of privacy, “goes well beyond a lawful proscription of intolerably invasive conduct and instead reaches a substantial amount of speech protected by the First Amendment,” Justice Charles Spain wrote in his Dec. 31 opinion for the Texas Court of Appeals’ Fourteenth District.

The ruling comes after an appeal from Jasper Chen, who had been charged by the state with a harassment misdemeanor for sending repeated electronic ...

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