Hearings were held today in Paterson Municipal Court for the harassment complaint filed by Siggy Flicker’s former publicist against Shari Weinick and the 3 harassment complaints filed against me.
Earlier this month our lawyer submitted a motion to dismiss all the complaints based on a similar case they won before the New Jersey Supreme Court in December of 2017. It was hoped the judge would make a decision on this motion today, however the Paterson prosecutor submitted an opposition motion so another hearing was scheduled for May 8th.
The lawyer did check on the 3rd warrant remaining on the court dockets. That was due to clerical error. The warrant was officially vacated and all warrants against me have been recalled. There are no bounty hunters or Sheriffs looking for me. There isn’t going to be an extradition.
Another hearing is actually a good thing. If the case had ended today it would have been 8 days shy of a year since the first complaint against me was filed. Now with the case continuing I’ll be able to say that over a year was spent trying to prosecute me for exercising my freedom of speech.
The case argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court I referenced above was State v Burkert which involved the same harassment statute being used in the complaints against me. The New Jersey Supreme Court restricted how the statute can be used to keep it from being abused. You can see some excerpts from that decision below the break:
From State of New Jersey v. Burkert
On January 8, 2011, when he arrived at work, the Sergeant found a flyer in the parking garage containing his wedding photo on which “pornographic things” were written. The Sergeant testified he was “upset, angry” and “very offended and humiliated.” He recognized the handwriting on the photo as defendant’s.
…defendant argued no evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt defendant distributed the flyers or intended to harass the Sergeant. Further, he maintained, as a matter of law, the written comments he placed on the photograph were protected speech and could not constitute criminal harassment because they were not specifically directed to the Sergeant.
Defendant’s comments were unprofessional, puerile, and inappropriate for the workplace. Our opinion does not address whether the nature of defendant’s written comments, which were posted in his workplace, may subject him to discipline by his employer. However, they do not amount to criminal harassment.
Vague and overly broad laws criminalizing speech have the potential to chill permissible speech, causing speakers to silence themselves rather than utter words that may be subject to penal sanctions.
Speech, however, cannot be transformed into criminal conduct merely because it annoys, disturbs, or arouses contempt.