Below, please find the latest case additions to the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression legal database.
As always, we very much welcome your comments and feedback on the case analyses. We could not get access to the official court documents, including the decisions, for some cases. If you have access to such documents, please forward them to me.
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February 16-21, 2016
The State v. Bulat Zhakpbaevich Satkangulov
Decision Date: November 18, 2015
The Prosecutor General charged Satkangulov with propaganda of terrorism using mass communication platforms after he attempted to change his friends’ opinions of ISIS through discussions on WhatsApp and over the phone. An expert commission qualified his statements to be propaganda of terrorism and the court equated justification or arguments in support of terrorist activities to the dissemination of terrorism propaganda. On this basis, the court sentenced him to six years in prison and ordered all property under his name to be forfeited.
New Mexico v. Davis
Decision Date: October 19, 2015
Defendant Norman Davis was arrested and convicted of possession of marijuana, the eventual result of aerial surveillance of Davis' property by law enforcement using a helicopter. The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed the conviction and suppressed all seized evidence, finding the aerial surveillance an unconstitutional search under the Fourth Amendment. Though largely unrelated to freedom of expression, the case expands constitutional freedoms and the right to privacy by requiring a warrant for certain instances of aerial surveillance of a home's curtilage (e.g. a backyard on private property).
Walsh v. Enge
Decision Date: December 31, 2015
The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon granted Walsh temporary injunctive relief from a ban on entering City buildings after he was charged with disruptive conduct during a City Council meeting. The Court held that while the City Council meetings are limited public forums, which permit the government to freely regulate time, place, manner, and even the content of speech, the act of prospectively excluding individuals from attending the meetings pursuant to the ordinance was unreasonable and thereby in violation of the First Amendment.
Project Manager, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression