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SWAT raid to shut down Twitter parody of Illinois politician was legal, judge rules

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Unread 09.22.14, 09:06 AM
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SWAT raid to shut down Twitter parody of Illinois politician was legal, judge rules

09.22.14 08:50 AM

Remember the story about the guy in Illinois who ended up in jail because the mayor of Peoria was butt hurt that the guy had been parodying his administration on Twitter?

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis had gotten the local cops to stage an honest-to-God SWAT raid at the home of Jon Daniel in an effort to locate the source of the offending Twitter account. Daniel and three others went to jail — on charges of possessing marijuana and nothing else.

That all happened in April. Last week, one of Daniel’s roommates — with the drug charge still hanging over him — learned that a judge had cleared the SWAT raid as justified and legal. Full speed ahead on the felony weed bust.

From The Guardian:
A Peoria judge this week ruled that the police were entitled to raid the house on North University Street on 15 April under the town’s “false personation” law which makes it illegal to pass yourself off as a public official. Judge Thomas Keith found that police had probable cause to believe they would find materials relevant to the Twitter feed such as computers or flash drives used to create it.

Just to be clear: satire isn’t covered in Peoria under the 1st Amendment. If you skewer a public official through parody, you are not exercising a right — you are slandering him. And when the police don riot gear and bring a search warrant to your door to locate slander paraphernalia (like computers) and instead walk away with pot, it becomes a perfectly legal drug raid.

This isn’t a silver lining, but it’s bilateral damage: The Guardian reports that Peoria’s mayor is now the subject of 15 parody Twitter feeds. Too bad for Jim Ardis that Peoria’s SWAT team doesn’t have global jurisdiction.

The post SWAT raid to shut down Twitter parody of Illinois politician was legal, judge rules appeared first on Personal Liberty.

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