The Federal Public Defender’s Office in Maryland is mounting a vigorous defense of a man accused of harassing someone on Twitter. As the New York Times reports,
Twitter posts have fueled defamation suits in civil courts worldwide. But this is a criminal case, invoking a somewhat rarely used law on cyberstalking. And it straddles a new, thin line between online communications that can be upsetting — even frightening — and constitutional safeguards on freedom of expression.
Apparently, Mr. Cassidy created a large number of posts directed at one woman. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland is prosecuting him. It’s an odd thing to use a criminal prosecution to make law. If conduct is so bad that it would land you in prison, you should be able to know clearly – and in advance – if it’s against the law. Yet here it looks like the boundary of the law isn’t that clear.