Two indicted on felony assault charges for using megaphones at TownHall protest—Cleveland Scene
Andy Geronimo, director of the Case Western Reserve University First Amendment Law Clinic, said the indictments were very troubling to him.
“From all appearances, this is a felony prosecution of speech,” he wrote in an emailed statement to Scene. “While there have been First Amendment challenges to restrictions on the time, place, and manner of the use of amplified sound, I’m not aware of any criminal prosecution, (apart from this one), where the claimed harm is hearing damage from a megaphone or other amplification system. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech does not change because the speaker used technology to convey their message, and I hope that the prosecutor’s office considers the constitutional implications involved in criminalizing acts of free expression.”