Brewington v. State

Defendant was indicted on several charges relating to his divorce case. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of one felony count of intimidating the trial judge, two misdemeanor counts of intimidation involving the judge’s wife and a psychologist who was an expert witness in the divorce, and one felony count of attempted obstruction of justice relating to the psychologist. Defendant appealed on free speech grounds. The court of appeals reversed the misdemeanor-level intimidation convictions and affirmed the felony convictions. The Supreme Court granted transfer, affirmed Defendant’s convictions for intimidation of a judge and attempted obstruction of justice, and summarily affirmed the court of appeals on all other counts, holding (1) the court of appeals erred in its free speech analysis by failing to distinguish between Defendant’s attacks on his victims’ reputations, which are protected by the stringent actual malice standard, and Defendant’s true threats to the victims’ safety, which receive no such protection; but (2) there was ample evidence of true threats to support Defendant’s convictions for intimidating the judge and Defendant’s attempted obstruction of justice regarding the psychologist. View "Brewington v. State" on Justia Law