Cyber-stalking law in WA faces uncertain future

SPOKANE, Wash --- Washington’s law against cyber-stalking faces an uncertain future. The state Attorney General’s Office declined to defend its constitutionality during a federal court hearing.

Lawyers for a retired Air Force major on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton to block the state from enforcing the law. They said their client has been threatened with prosecution for making online posts that criticize, but do not threaten, a community activist on Bainbridge Island.

A University of California-Los Angeles law professor, Eugene Volokh, said the law criminalizes online speech intended to harass, torment or embarrass someone else.

By that definition, Volokh told the judge, President Trump could be prosecuted for his posts about Hillary Clinton.

The judge invited Deputy Attorney General Darwin Roberts to defend it.

Roberts argued that the plaintiff, Richard Rynearson, does not have standing to bring his claims in federal court.

Leighton said he planned to rule within two weeks.

© 2017 Associated Press


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