SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Supreme Court has made a rare ruling against freedom of speech. The high court ruled unanimously Friday that the state's constitutional protections of free expression do not extend to stalking.
In 2005, John Norman Ryan began stalking a Portland woman he met at a social event. He sent increasingly disturbing messages and would show up at her office uninvited. Two years later the woman obtained a stalking protective order. That forbade Ryan from making any contact whatsoever. Soon after, however, Ryan started sending letters and packages to the victim's father. He was found guilty of violating the protective order.
But Ryan appealed. He said since his communications after the stalking order was issued were non-violent in content, he said they were constitutionally-protected free speech.
The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed even though the panel has upheld broad free speech protections in the past. The judges ruled that in this case, the stalking protective order was properly applied and that Ryan had no right to communicate in any way that violated that order.
Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network
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Oregon Supreme Court ruling in State of Oregon v. John Norman Ryan