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Online Parody Cartoon Targeted For Prosecution

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the what-renton-might-need-is-some-attention dept.

Censorship 327

SeattleGameboy writes "It seems that the Renton (suburb of Seattle) police need a remedial course on the U.S. Constitution," linking to a story at Seattle TV station KIRO which says "The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos. The 'South-Park'-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications. While the city wants to criminalize the cartoons, First Amendment rights advocates say the move is an 'extreme abuse of power.'"

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327 comments

"certain personnel getting promoted without necess (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992650)

"certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications"

The prosecution may have merit, wouldn't the above qualify as obscene?

Re:"certain personnel getting promoted without nec (0)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992668)

The prosecution may have merit,

how does this have merit? Are people not allowed to express their views that their local police are under-qualified?

Abuse Of Power? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992760)

Of course, NOT !

In America, the cops is always right !! No matter what the cops did, or still doing, there are always people who will scream their heads off telling you that the cops are right !

It has nothing to do with 1st Amendment or Free Speech or Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

The Cops are above them all !

Yes and No (4, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993072)

Of course, NOT !

In America, the cops is always right !! No matter what the cops did, or still doing, there are always people who will scream their heads off telling you that the cops are right !

It has nothing to do with 1st Amendment or Free Speech or Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

The Cops are above them all !

Actually, the issue is a bit more complex, although this is certainly how many officers behave. (Others are significantly more professional, and even courteous.)

A huge problem we have is that, realistically, the prosecution gets to write the story. The vast majority of cases settle, which means that the formal record of any criminal event in this country is the prosecution's version of events. This version of events is frequently, at best, inaccurate. The function of the prosecution and of the police, on paper, is not to be a neutral arbiter but to make sure the case is strong. This is not to say that this version of events is a deliberate lie, but it nevertheless completely fails to be an accurate record of the event. So of the huge volume of data we have of criminality, most of it is incredibly biased. Only when a case actually goes to trial does the defense present a case, and there the assumption on the part of most people in the room is that the defendant is guilty.

That being said, I also know several people who have been beaten by the cops without provocation. Those cops are not professionals, and they are not just something of an ass at times. They are fucking criminals who should be sent to jail.

Re:Abuse Of Power? (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993266)

I know you're being annoying, but the truth is that it is expected that police forces will try to overstep their authority.

That's the whole point of the Constitution: not that police forces and government officials will never overstep their authority but that when they do they get bitch-slapped to the ground and the overstepee gets a fat payday to punish the ones who violated someone's rights as well as their fat-fuck supervisors who got their position because they are the brother-in-law of the city council chairman.

It is the beauty of our Constitutional system in action, and it keeps me from getting overly outraged at the police assholes who actually believed that you can prosecute someone for simply expressing an opinion.

Now, the outrage would be warranted if somehow the prosecution stuck or said donut-eating side of pork and his department managed to somehow avoid the punishment they so richly deserve.

For the most part, I'm OK with police. I know several socially and teach a t'ai chi course that is attended by a few forty-something officers. For the most part they are decent and honorable people who don't fuck around with peoples' rights. They are of a generation that is sickened by the behavior of predecessors like a former Commander Jon Burge (here in Chicago) who is sitting in a Federal penitentiary for extracting confessions through the use of torture. But now he's got to be really careful when performing his daily ablutions and the men who were tortured to confess have received multi-million dollar awards, which is of course insufficient for having spent years, sometimes decades behind bars and in a couple of cases on Death Row. But the right people were punished and the right people were paid and the generation of cops that seem to be rising to supervisory positions at least here in Chicago appear to be more professional and more decent.

In other words, the system seems to work, but only if we constantly watch it. There needs to always be civilian oversight of all law enforcement (and military for that matter). There are still problems, but there's at least an expectation that they will be solved.

Re:Abuse Of Power? (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993550)

Police power getting better?

You're posting this in a article where someone is being charged by drawing a comic of police. Its hardly an improvement because 80% of cops are "good". also, define a good cop, Police are people who will arrest you if they feel you are guilty, they don't go and fuck around with others rights ... UNLESS they are perceived by the police as a "baddie", then you're just a baddie, and it doesn't matter what happens to you. even a "honorable nice cop" will treat a "baddie" like crap by default (throw them in a cage, manhandle them etc) its hardly a big jump from manhandling to assault.

basically what you said could be said about wife beaters. I know of a couple actually, they are really nice people in most circumstances, in the wrong situation though, they show their real colours.

Re:Abuse Of Power? (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993736)

You're posting this in a article where someone is being charged by drawing a comic of police.

And thirty years ago, people were charged for being gay.

You have to take your progress where you find it, friend.

ACLU (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992662)

Don't forget to send in your contribution today.

Re:ACLU (-1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993406)

ACLU? I watch them. They do some good things - but overall, the ACLU is anti-church, anti-family, anti-white, and anti-establishment. It's good that they are there, sometimes, but I really detest them. Having the ACLU around is like having an unpredictable watch dog in your home. You just never know when the damned dog will turn around and bite YOU!

Re:ACLU (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993424)

ACLU? I watch them. They do some good things - but overall, the ACLU is anti-church, anti-family, anti-white, and anti-establishment.

Ok, now guess where most of the abuses of power and violations of constitutional rights come from? (Hint: It's usually not from minorities or others without power and/or wealth.)

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993458)

You are correct. The current administration does have power [cbsnews.com] .

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993472)

Couldn't find an update?

Re:ACLU (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993558)

well, you do need to have power first before you abuse it.

and those with the power are the minority. so i'm not really sure what you're trying to say.

Re:ACLU (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993792)

you are looking at a different sets - when it comes to "power" there is a minority of the population that has it - but when you look at the Racial Minority Sets and do a Venn diagram you will notice little overlap between these two separate "minority" sets..

Re:ACLU (5, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993492)

but overall, the ACLU is anti-church, anti-family, anti-white, and anti-establishment

Nonsense. The ACLU defends *all* churches, not just the mainstream ones -- they step up to defend groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, as well as Muslims,Jews, atheists, Pagans, etc. The ACLU defends the rights of *all* families, not just Mom+Dad+2.5 kids. Labeling them "anti-white" is gibberish -- the ACLU defends the free speech rights of the KKK.

And in a nation where the "establishment" has no respect for the rights of the people, being anti-establishment is a virtue.

Not to say they're always right, but the ACLU is on the side of the angels more often than any other political group.

Re:ACLU (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993718)

The ACLU used to be what you're describing (at least for first amendment issues). That was about 40 years ago. They stood on the side of principle without regard to who it was they were defending including racists, nazis, criminals, various religions, etc. This was when they were fulfilling their promises and "fighting the good fight" as it were. These days they're just a political movement in cognito.

It's a shame because we need an organization that is what they used to be to the first amendment: watchdogs and defenders. Only we need them in the modern day and for the entire constitution rather than just the first amendment.

Re:ACLU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993526)

ACLU? I watch them. They do some good things - but overall, the ACLU is anti-church, anti-family, anti-white, and anti-establishment.

The only people who believe that bit of drivel are "family values" bigots, red-necks, and members of the Tea Party who figure they get to decide what other people can and can't do, make sure the Church has influence over the State, and generally selectively apply the laws to match their own world view.

These are the same people who are leading the charge to erode the rights we have now in order to give us the illusion that the culture of fear and playing by their rules is good for us.

If you think the ACLU is unpredictable, it's because your opinion of things departs from reality in a lot of ways. The ACLU is entirely consistent -- they don't just choose their causes to serve only the church, people who want to tell us what constitutes a family, people who care only about skin color, and governments which would run roughshod over us if nobody was around to take them to task for it.

Almost by definition, anybody who is talking about "anti-white" is never more than a little removed from someone saying "filthy niggers, kikes, and chinks". As a white guy, every time I hear someone say "anti-white", you make me ashamed to be melanin challenged.

Re:ACLU (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993564)

The only people who think the ACLU is anti-church are the ones who think their religion should be promoted to the rest of us. a random piece of data I found [aclufights...stians.com] . I'm not sure how they're anti-family, or anti-white or anti-establishment. Unless you're trying to tell someone else how to live their life it's unlikely there is any reason to detest the ACLU.

Re:ACLU (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993582)

ACLU? I watch them. They do some good things - but overall, the ACLU is anti-church, anti-family, anti-white, and anti-establishment. It's good that they are there, sometimes, but I really detest them. Having the ACLU around is like having an unpredictable watch dog in your home. You just never know when the damned dog will turn around and bite YOU!

No you don't. If you actually watched them, you'd know that nothing you say about them is true (except maybe the "anti-establishment" part -- but since when is that a bad thing?) Instead, you're just lazily regurgitating tired anti-ACLU propaganda that has nothing to do with the actual organization, and which makes their job, protecting the rights of Americans, that much harder. Too bad, but they'll keep defending your rights whether you deserve it or not.

Re:ACLU (2)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993640)

Most of these criticisms are completely off the mark based on the cases they have taken on. ACLU has done more for society than you will ever do. I don't agree with them on everything, especially when it comes to their stance on the 2nd amendment, but I am not a one issue person and I will continue to support them.

Blame the prosecutor (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992686)

It's not the police, it's the prosecutor. The police may have agitated for this, but the prosecutor is the person who should know better.

Re:Blame the prosecutor (2)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992990)

Even the police should know better. What surprises me most is that people are still surprised about this kind of thing. It happens all the time, while the big corruption within the government is ignored - in fact, it's a crime to point it out.

Re:Blame the prosecutor (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993060)

It's not the police, it's the prosecutor. The police may have agitated for this, but the prosecutor is the person who should know better.

I saw a judge berate a lawyer for asking him to sign a prior-restraint TRO on his opposing party. The judge should have known better as well... but their claim is that the person is harassing and posting this with intent to embarass... which I can see (whistleblower laws protect you from reporting incidents to the proper authorities, not airing it on youtube) but the fact that the allegations aren't false, means the material isn't defamatory... so... good luck sticking this prosecution all the way to conviction... of course, they don't need it to last that far, they just need it to get far enough to identify the individual and then fire them for cause.

Employment is a horrible mess of a contract. :(

Re:Blame the prosecutor (1)

Hutz (900771) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993198)

No, it is the judge who should have known better. That is why we require a judge's consent for a warrant. The judge is supposed to be the guarantor of our rights before the police and prosecutors. Our system of laws anticipated overzealous law enforcement - Judges are not supposed to be part of the prosecution, but the adjudicators of law. This is

Re:Blame the prosecutor (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993294)

maybe he'll get sanctions. It'd be nice to see some government prosecutors getting this when appropriate, such as when they tried to snuff out whistleblowers in court.

Re:Blame the prosecutor (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993316)

It's not the police, it's the prosecutor. The police may have agitated for this, but the prosecutor is the person who should know better.

And should face disbarment for dereliction of his duty as an officer of the court.

The actions he seeks to prosecute are practically textbook examples of protected speech.

The judge who signed that warrant has some explaining to do as well. He isn't there to operate the rubber stamp, his job is to make the police and prosecutors demonstrate that their warrants are valid and constitutional before he signs off on them. If he won't do that or he's too much of a patsy to do that then he's a disgrace to his office and yet another in a growing list of reasons why citizens should re-consider any level of respect they might have left for their government.

Re:Blame the prosecutor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993638)

That is a horrible viewpoint. How about I blame all of the idiots involved for being idiots?

Wait for it... (4, Insightful)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992692)

...you civil liberties are becomeing an endangered species if you question authority, impead the operations of businesses, or criticize your elected officials. I never thought it would come to this in this country. Isn't it sad that the pent up frustration and anti-establishment from the 60's generation (the people now in power) has morphed into this?

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992720)

I blame hipsters!
(Is it still cool to blame hipsters?)

Re:Wait for it... (5, Funny)

naroom (1560139) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992740)

I blame hipsters! (Is it still cool to blame hipsters?)

It was only cool to blame hipsters before it was cool to blame hipsters.

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993270)

does that mean its no longer cool to blame hipsters and therefore cool to blame hipsters therefore OH NOOOOOOOOOO

Re:Wait for it... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992838)

Generation gap. The 60s people marched, risked jail time, and their lives to deal with this crap.

These days, people don't give a shit about rights, as long as they have their iPhone and their Facebook. Maybe they might sign a petition to have the First Amendment reinstated, or like a group on FB saying they miss having the ability to not have their property searched at whim. However don't expect anything more than that.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993106)

Generation gap. The 60s people marched, risked jail time, and their lives to deal with this crap.

Many of the 60s people had their lives on the line. They were being drafted. Their friends were being drafted and dying. It incentivizes a bit of civil disobedience.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993156)

Generation gap. The 60s people marched, risked jail time, and their lives to deal with this crap.

Many of the 60s people had their lives on the line. They were being drafted. Their friends were being drafted and dying. It incentivizes a bit of civil disobedience.

Their lives will be on the line again if they were to stop getting social security and/or medicare. Just sayin'.

Re:Wait for it... (1, Interesting)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993484)

The average mature adult can't seem to make sound financial decisions past about 3 to 6 months out, and forget about contingency planning of any sort. Dumb-ass ethos like: "Bad stuff doesn't happen to good people.", "It never happened to me before; so, it's too unlikely to bother with.", "Someone else will fix it if it's a problem.", "It's only a problem if you don't ignore it.", "If you didn't succeed, it's because you didn't work hard enough for it.", etc... pretty much rule that out.

"Big" shit like that gets spoon fed to the masses by various talking heads. Usually via base emotions and pseudo-authoritative posturing. ... *looks to see if the captcha is "hypocrite" or something.

Oh, well, when in Rome, I suppose.

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992940)

city does something outrageous --jump-to-conclusion--> such pathological state of social decay woe is me
person does something outrageous --jump-to-conclusion--> oh no can't go there that's bigoted and racist

Maybe outrageous things just tend to happen from time to time and the internet's speed makes it seems like more of it is happening. Calm down.

Re:Wait for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993548)

"Red Forman: Without rules, we all might as well be up in a tree flinging our crap at each other. " -That 70's Show. If you would all rather have no rules at all and live in Anarchy, I'd love to live off a steady diet of computer nerd livers served with fava beans and a nice chianti. The police keep you safe from people like me, you should show them more respect.

Re:Wait for it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993646)

you should show them more respect.

Respect is earned, not deserved.

If you would all rather have no rules at all...The police keep you safe from people like me

And who keeps us safe from people like the police?

Tough Case (3, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992750)

It's going to be hard for the prosecuter to prove "intent to embarass", given that the Renton Police Department apparently has absolutely no sense of shame.

Re:Tough Case (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992794)

Intent to embarrass isn't a crime. Of course, only sociopaths don't feel embarrassment. Oh, wait.....

Re:Tough Case (1)

DancesWithRobots (903395) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993084)

Intent to embarrass isn't a crime. Of course, only sociopaths don't feel embarrassment. Oh, wait.....

That's classic. Can I steal it?

Re:Tough Case (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993122)

Intent to embarrass isn't a crime. Of course, only sociopaths don't feel embarrassment. Oh, wait.....

Under a definition of cyberstalking that includes intent to embarass over the internet to a third party, the majority of internet users are criminals.

Re:Tough Case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993630)

Intent to embarrass isn't a crime. Of course, only sociopaths don't feel embarrassment. Oh, wait.....

Under a definition of cyberstalking that includes intent to embarass over the internet to a third party, the majority of internet users are criminals.

Tits or GTFO

they should make a cartoon with mohammed in it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992756)

they should make a cartoon with mohammed in it!

cops, officers of the law enforcement. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992770)

Finally, a show that is the opposite of cops. [kirotv.com] They need a tune.

Bad cops, bad cops. Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do, when they come for you? Bad cops bad cops. Whatcha gonna do,
whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do, when they come for you?

Re:cops, officers of the law enforcement. (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993518)

... whatcha gonna do, no donut for you, bad cop, bad cop.

IANAL (5, Informative)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992792)

But these guys are:
http://volokh.com/2011/08/04/is-it-criminal-to-publish-parody-videos-that-use-lewd-language-meant-to-embarrass-and-emotionally-torment-police-officers/ [volokh.com]

Yes, the Renton (Wash.) city prosecutor’s office concludes, applying the Washington “cyberstalking” statute — an excellent example of the dangers of the broad “cyberbullying” and “harassment” statutes that I have often condemned. KIRO-TV reports:

        The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos.

        The “South-Park”-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications.... [Last week, the prosecutor filed] a search warrant accusing an anonymous cartoon creator, going by the name of Mr. Fiddlesticks, of cyberstalking (RCW 9.61.260). The Renton Police Department and the local prosecutor got a judge to sign off as a way to uncover the name of whoever is behind the parodies.... ...

Under the prosecutor’s view, any statement — including on a blog, in a YouTube video, in a newspaper article, on television, or whatever else — is a crime if it is made “with intent to harass, ... torment, or embarrass” the subject of the person “[u]sing any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language.” A comedian’s joke that “lewd[ly]” or “lascivious[ly]” described President Clinton’s behavior with Monica Lewinsky, or for that matter Congressman Weiner’s behavior, would be a crime if it was made “with intent to ... embarrass” the President or the Congressman. The Hustler parody attacking Jerry Falwell, which the Supreme Court held to be protected against civil liability under the “intentional infliction of emotional distress tort,” would be a crime. Indeed, in this very case, the theory is that the videos are criminal because they described alleged police sexual misconduct using “lewd” or “indecent” words with the intent to torment or embarrass particular officers. (The theory expressed in the document — a search warrant application — is that the videos sufficiently identify the particular police officers who were involved in the incidents to which the video alludes.)

If the prosecutor is right that the statute should be interpreted this broadly, then it’s clearly unconstitutionally overbroad. Speech to the public doesn’t lose its constitutional protection because it’s intended to torment or embarrass. (It may lose such protection when it’s intended to be perceived as a true threat of criminal attack, but that’s not the issue here.) Nor does lose its constitutional protection because it uses “lewd” or “indecent” terms. And while one-to-one speech said to an unwilling listener may in some circumstances be restricted — which is the reason traditional telephone harassment laws, if properly crafted, may be constitutional — this rationale can’t be used to suppress speech said to the public, even if the people discussed in the speech are tormented or embarrassed by it.

Moreover, the statute would be clearly unconstitutional as applied to this video, and the prosecutor and the judge ought to know this. (The prosecutor is Renton Chief Prosecutor Shawn Arthur; the judge on an earlier warrant was James Cayce, but I don’t know what the affidavit said there, and I don’t know the name of the judge who apparently issued the warrant based on the affidavit included with the KIRO story.) A search warrant can only be issued if there is probable cause to believe that it will uncover evidence of a crime; since the material described in the affidavit can’t be made criminal under the cited statute, given the First Amendment, the warrant ought not have been issued. The government is not permitted to use its coercive power to identify the author of this constitutionally protected video.

Re:IANAL (4, Interesting)

SeattleGameboy (641456) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992908)

The prosecutor fully knows he is barking up the wrong Constitutional tree, but what is really unconcerting is the fact that they are doing this just so that they can find out who "Mr.Fiddlestick" is. Since Google won't reveal who "Mr.Fiddlestick" is without a criminal investigation, they are using this to run around that requirement. I doubt that they will even charge him with the statue. Pretty sickening abuse of power.

Re:IANAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993162)

The prosecutor fully knows he is barking up the wrong Constitutional tree, but what is really unconcerting is the fact that they are doing this just so that they can find out who "Mr.Fiddlestick" is. Since Google won't reveal who "Mr.Fiddlestick" is without a criminal investigation, they are using this to run around that requirement. I doubt that they will even charge him with the statue.

Pretty sickening abuse of power.

...and you can guarantee "Mr. Fiddlestick" will turn up with a knife in him in an alley somewhere with "no suspicion of foul play".

Re:IANAL (3, Informative)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993334)

...and you can guarantee "Mr. Fiddlestick" will turn up with a knife in him in an alley somewhere with "no suspicion of foul play".

No - he'll just commit suicide. By shooting himself in the back of the head. Twice.

Re:IANAL (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993544)

They already know who he is. The comics chronicle conversations he had with people in that office. And you can tell from their tone that he's on the outs with the leadership. They just want proof it was him so they can fire him, or whatever.

Re:IANAL (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993450)

And to quote Han Solo, "I must have hit her pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh, kid?"

Re:IANAL (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993622)

Moreover, the statute would be clearly unconstitutional as applied to this video, and the prosecutor and the judge ought to know this. (The prosecutor is Renton Chief Prosecutor Shawn Arthur; the judge on an earlier warrant was James Cayce, but I don’t know what the affidavit said there, and I don’t know the name of the judge who apparently issued the warrant based on the affidavit included with the KIRO story.) A search warrant can only be issued if there is probable cause to believe that it will uncover evidence of a crime; since the material described in the affidavit can’t be made criminal under the cited statute, given the First Amendment, the warrant ought not have been issued. The government is not permitted to use its coercive power to identify the author of this constitutionally protected video.

I am also not a lawyer, though I do pay attention and did study a bit of law, and I believe your epxlanations and analysis are spot on. A statute that broad (I admit I have not read it, nor am at all familiar with Washington state laws) runs afoul of the constitution in such an obvious manner that no prosecutor should attempt to use it in this way, and no judge should allow a case like that to proceed. If prosecution proceeds, and the defendant fights it up through the courts as far as necessary, the only question in the end will be whether this qualifies as malicious prosecution or if the prosecutor acted in good faith in interpreting a poorly written law. The supreme court has, thankfully, held that there are few exceptions to speech being protected, even when it makes some people uncomfortable.

The defense would not be over-reaching in claiming that such prosecution is targeted retribution for criticisms made of police and public officials. And a judge that issues such a merritless warrant should also worry about his own job come election time, if not misconduct investigations. Prosecutors judges, etc. generally enjoy a high level of immunity *IF* they are performing their duties in good faith with reasonable judgement, though they certainly may not do as they please and escape misconduct with a simple declaration of "My bad." Intimidation, improper arrest, and search and seizure for political or other improper motiviations (e.g. som cops are pissed off) are serious offenses, and the tools of tyranny.

It's an educational opportunity! (2)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992796)

It's never too late to educate your police force on the fine points of the Constitution.
They might even grow to appreciate it.

Re:It's an educational opportunity! (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992904)

It's never too late to educate your police force on the fine points of the Constitution.
They might even grow to appreciate it.

Or they may bludgeon you into a coma. It all depends on the venue and the officer in question I suppose.

Prosecutorial misconduct (4, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992798)

The judge should be removed from the bench and the prosecutor should be disbarred. This is blatant abuse of the judicial process, and both are either complicit or incompetent, and either one should warrant their removal from their respective offices.

Re:Prosecutorial misconduct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992858)

So you're saying it is improper for a prosecutor to suck a judge's dick in order to get the judge to sign a search warrant?

What if they were married?

Re:Prosecutorial misconduct (1)

dccase (56453) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992924)

The judge should be removed from the bench and the prosecutor should be disbarred. This is blatant abuse of the judicial process, and both are either complicit or incompetent, and either one should warrant their removal from their respective offices.

You must be new here.

Re:Prosecutorial misconduct (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993260)

I said "should." In law, what should happen and what will happen are usually two very different things. There is very little justice in the US legal system.

It might be an abuse of power (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992806)

but it will still work. Lawyers cost money and defending against a criminal complaint costs time as well. By the time the case is dismissed, the defendant is going to be bankrupt either way and it'll be a very long time before anyone thinks of criticising the police in that part of the State.

Re:It might be an abuse of power (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992854)

Don't forget that being arrested for *anything*, and I'm not meaning felony convictions. I mean any arrests mean joining the unemployment line for life.

Most employers check arrest records on NCIC, rather than rap sheets. Why? People can buy themselves out of a conviction. If the police officer decides to throw handcuffs on someone and do the paperwork, they are most certainly guilty of something.

Re:It might be an abuse of power (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992860)

Living in a town where the entire police force is out to get you isn't freedom. This guy will lose, no matter if he wins. He lost when the search warrant was issued.

Re:It might be an abuse of power (2)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992894)

Assuming they don't simply bust into his house, trash it, kill his dog simply out of spite, and perhaps even him for "resisting arrest". Cops think they have the power to mete out low justice in the form of lead.

Thin blue line my ass. These aren't cops. They're armed criminals and should be dealt with on that basis. The Second defends the First.

I think someone should ask Barbara Striesand. (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992872)

She might have some input on this situation. Also, Mecha-Striesand might be effective at law enforcement.

Proper (re)action (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992880)

The proper mindful response to such criticism would be change the policies of the police department and the behavior of its officers such that no reasonable person would even briefly consider them credible.

As it is, the only reason for them to believe that a costly criminal trial is necessary is (a) because they themselves actually find the parody critiques credible and (b) they intend to discourage further criticism by vilifying the creator of the parodies.

This is not justice or rule of law in action. This is tribalism (police department and city officials being the tribe), abuse of the law, and abuse of authority. This is actual criminal behavior perpetrated by people sworn to protect and uphold. We know what they're attempting to protect, and it's not us.

Renton City Prosecutor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992888)

Nothing less than a bullet to his head is ever going to do.

Re:Renton City Prosecutor (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993142)

now, that, right there could be seen as illegal.

these cops need to learn the difference between what you just said, and a satirical cartoon, no matter how crass.

The prosector should be silenced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992926)

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine exactly how that should be done ...

Open note to Renton Police and courts (3, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993070)

When you yourselves are seen as not obeying the law of the land, you expose yourselves to the risk of removing your authority. Authority is granted for certain purposes, not others. You must enforce the law, you are not allowed to enforce whims. You are diluting your authority by permitting such abuses. The people will see this as an abrogation of the agreement between government and the governed.

Just because the founding fathers lived a couple of centuries ago, doesn't mean that people don't get equally upset now as they did in 1776.

Re:Open note to Renton Police and courts (4, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993226)

Actually, police are not supposed to "enforce the law", they are supposed to maintain order.

If they see someone causing disorder, they may, at their discretion, choose to gently caution, give a stern warning to, give a written citation to, or arrest, the individual causing the disturbance.

In a perfect world, a police officer will NOT enter into that situation simply because the individual causing the disorder is merely annoying or insulting to the officer themselves. In a perfect world, a police officer is supposed to have a thick skin and endless amounts of patience. In a perfect world, an officer refrains from a confrontation until someone else complains about the disorderly behavior, or that behavior clearly escalates to maliciousness and/or damage of physical property, or the overall psychological well-being of the populace.

In a perfect world, "law enforcement" is the product of proper police behavior.

What we are seeing is petty, selfish, arrogant, belligerent, puerile and legally actionable misbehavior by the police and their support structure.

And, should the local legal system fail in providing a solution, then the case must be escalated to the state, then federal legal system.

Should that fail, our problems are going to be much more serious than police misbehavior.

Re:Open note to Renton Police and courts (2)

modecx (130548) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993758)

I don't know where you hail from, but here in the US, law enforcement certainly is the preeminent duty of a police force. Individuals comprising a police force are universally called LEOs in police-speak. I'll let you guess what that TLA stands for. That even applies to correctional officers, who in many jurisdictions only have police authority over inmates.

But, no... Uniformed officers are paid to prevent crime through their presence, enforce the law, protect life and property, and respond to crimes--not in any particular order. Detectives exist to take pictures and make a white tape line line around you when the uniformed cops fail. Maintaining order is a job for the riot squad.

Judge and cops are the criminals here (1)

ProfanityHead (198878) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993214)

The evil in this is the police know there is no merit at all to the charges. The judge knows this also. They have no intention of making fools of themselves by trying to prosecute this. This is a conspiracy of the worst kind... the kind that violates the public trust in them as people who uphold the law.

They are corrupt and want to actually find out who this guy is so they can do what cops do best, make life miserable for the person. The cops, judge, and any other bureaucrat involved should all be held responsible. Unfortunately there is no one policing the police so these kinds of things go unpunished.

To me this should be a felony and these slimy cops and judges should be made an example of.

Protest against the protest cartoons (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993306)

To hell with satirizing the police, he should be sent to jail for subjecting the public to more inane xtranormal cartoons.

I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, BUT ... (3, Interesting)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993310)

... I am a lawyer. Isn't there just a TINY problem with a judge in the State of WASHINGTON issuing a search warrant for premises located in the State of CALIFORNIA?

This isn't a civil subpoena - it is a SEARCH WARANT. Hello? Jurisdiction anyone?

Re:I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, BUT ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993604)

In the words of Homer Simpson,

"I agree with Larry Flint!"

Re:I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, BUT ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993780)

Isn't there just a TINY problem with a judge in the State of WASHINGTON issuing a search warrant for premises located in the State of CALIFORNIA?

Hahahaha, good one!

It's hilarious to see a good parody of a US citizen with civil rights.

i lived in renton for a few years... (0)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993348)

the renton police like to pretend they are all swat officers in a robocop movie. all of their patrol cars are kitted out with external roll cages, and the officers wear full body armor at all times. i used to work in the old city hall building, and they would use the floor below us for training exercises with flash bang grenades. we'd ride the same elevator up and i'd count the number of handguns strapped to their hips and chest (always more than their number of hands).

parking in a lot full of brand new cop cars with shiny new powder-coated black rims didn't make me feel safer... it made me feel like the police had their priorities in an order that did not benefit the community... this story is more of the same.

Re:i lived in renton for a few years... (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993554)

the renton police like to pretend they are all swat officers in a robocop movie. all of their patrol cars are kitted out with external roll cages, and the officers wear full body armor at all times. i used to work in the old city hall building, and they would use the floor below us for training exercises with flash bang grenades. we'd ride the same elevator up and i'd count the number of handguns strapped to their hips and chest (always more than their number of hands). parking in a lot full of brand new cop cars with shiny new powder-coated black rims didn't make me feel safer... it made me feel like the police had their priorities in an order that did not benefit the community... this story is more of the same.

Who the hell are you and what have you done with the MichaelKristopeit### Troll?

Re:i lived in renton for a few years... (1)

MichaelKristopeit424 (2018894) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993662)

i am michael kristopeit.

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen socialist based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Their next move: (1)

gmpassos (1193401) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993360)

Their next move will be to try to close Hooters Magazine! (or this should be the next parody movie subject)

I blame Low Standards at Law Schools (2)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993656)

Clearly the idiots in charge of this little corner of Soviet Russia don't clearly understand the law or the American Constitution. Bad Con Law Professors or a very lax grading curve for these Prosecutors and Judges. Just sad the state of legal education if they've let idiots like these be in charge of anything more important than dog licensing.

We don't do fatwas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993702)

That is the distinction between civilized society and the barbarians.
The barbarians would have called for a beheading as they don't understand "freedom of speech", but we as civilized society understand "freedom of speech", and we would give you a chance to spend your life savings and the rest of your life defending it.

Renton, Ahead of the Curve (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993786)

That's the city motto. It has it's origins in the fact that Renton is a traffic jam on I405 caused by a bottle neck called the "s" curve.
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