Dec 072017
 

As anticipated, federal prosecutors have filed a superseding indictment in their case against dental integrator and vulnerability researcher Justin Shafer. For those in a rush, the TL;DR version is that they have basically transformed a bullshit two-count indictment into a bullshit three-count indictment.

[For the benefit of law enforcement in Texas, that preceding sentence is considered opinion and protected speech, as much as you may dislike it.]

The superseding indictment adds one more count of stalking to the previously filed two counts:

From on or about November 2016, the exact date being unknown, until on or about February, 2017, in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas and elsewhere, the defendant, Justin Mark Shafer, with the intent to harass and intimidate a person and more than one person, used and attempted to use, interactive computer services, electronic communications systems of interstate commerce; internet websites, telephone and other facilities of interstate or foreign commerce, to engage in a course of conduct that caused and attempted to cause and was reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to JC and MK.

In violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2)(B) & 2261(b).

Based on available information, “JC” appears to refer to Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton, while “MK” likely refers to his judicial assistant, Margarita Koye.

So when you have a weak case where someone engaged in protected speech, just double down – throw more protected speech into the mix and claim that that protected speech was also an attempt to cause distress, right? Surely the more people who are upset by your speech, the more “victims” there are of “stalking,” right?

If I’m upset with you for months and email you for months, multiple times, to convey my distress and disgust with your behavior because your behavior is ongoing and continues to trouble me, isn’t that (still) protected speech?  I am not aware of any clause in the First Amendment that would suggest that speech is only protected if you say it less than X times.

So what, exactly, is Shafer alleged to have done that crossed the line from protected speech to “stalking” court personnel? And are we now going to rewrite the Constitution so that any time someone sends an angry or upset communication, we claim that they are attempting to cause distress and could reasonably expect to cause distress and are therefore stalking?  Has this country become a bunch of snowflakes?

Shafer’s attorney, Tor Ekeland, was not available for comment by the time of publication.

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