Thank God for the First Amendment | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thank God for the First Amendment

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2011 at 7:38 PM

We reported here last week that Arkansas Times senior editor Mara Leveritt had filed a professional conduct complaint against Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for refusing to be moved by evidence of juror misconduct in the West Memphis Threee case and continuing to fight to kill a defendant unjustly convicted.

That complaint got coverage today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

If you think Mara Leveritt is going to go quietly into the good night on Arkansas court rules that subject you to a contempt of court proceeding for talking about misconduct complaints, you need to think again.

She is right, of course. The First Amendment protects her. I made a similar comment to the state Ethics Commission years ago. It insists, as does the lawyers misconduct committee, that you may be subject to contempt of court proceedings if you talk publicly about complaints you have filed. I talked about Mike Huckabee and no contempt proceedings ensued.

It's a hollow threat and I told the Ethics Commisssion so, as Mara has here. I dare — I double dog dare — Dusty McDaniel or anyone else to seek to punish Mara Leveritt, me, or anyone else who complains publicly about abuse of power for giving voice to our complaints.

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