The Protect the First Foundation filed a motion today asking the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to hear oral argument from famed legal scholar Eugene Volokh in favor of an aggrieved husband who took to social media to spread an accusation of adultery against his spouse and her superior at work.
District of Columbia law defines the jurisdiction’s stalking statute to make it a crime to “directly or indirectly … in person or by any means, on two or more occasions” to communicate “about another individual” where the speaker “should have known” that such communications would cause “significant mental suffering or distress.”
A lower court ruling from Mashaud v. Boone, if extended, would criminalize the speech of virtually every news outlet, social media post and gossip-prone human being inside the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Opposing counsel has consented to PT1st Foundation’s motion, with the stipulation that time be allotted to respond to Volokh’s argument.
If the motion is granted, Protect The 1st looks forward to reporting what this clash will reveal about the First Amendment implications of D.C.’s stalking statute.