Judge Dismisses Trespassing Charges After Prosecution Attempts to Bar First Amendment Defense

Posted on January 25, 2017

Regardless of one’s views on how strictly trespassing laws should be enforced, an attempt to invalidate a defendant’s exercise of their First Amendment rights by contending that they are a “professional protester” is extraordinary. According to Norman Siegel, formerly of the ACLU, there currently exists no legal basis on which one’s right to freedom of speech can be waived or suspended due to the frequency or context of its exercise. A judge in the trespassing case of Billy Talen dismissed this premise, and the charges against Talen along with it.

Read Talen’s full account of the case in Al Jazeera English here.