Free Speech Press Release

01.26.13

Case Dismissed Against Columbia Station Man Charged With Inducing Panic for Online Commentary

Decision Helps to Protect Free Speech for Everyone

MEDINA, OH – Today, the Medina Municipal Court formally dismissed a charge of inducing panic against Joseph Resovsky, the Columbia Station man arrested for his online commentary in the aftermath of the tragic school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Resovsky was arrested in December. He obtained legal aid from the ACLU of Ohio and pleaded not guilty to the inducing panic charge, arguing that his statements were protected under the First Amendment. Today, the Medina city law director explained to the court that he had reviewed the facts of the case, and determined that Resovsky’s statements were constitutionally protected.

“Today’s dismissal further confirms our argument that the defendant’s statements were protected speech under the First Amendment,” said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman. “His comments may have offended people, but that is not illegal.”

“One of the many terrible things about tragedies like the Connecticut shooting is the climate of fear and anxiety they create all over the country,” added Hardiman. “In times like these, a clear legal line must be drawn between threatening behavior and protected free speech. This clarity helps protect our communities as well as the First Amendment.”