Barnes Law

Free Speech

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

These are forty-five of the most powerful words ever written

In sum, this means that you have the right to speak out, to express yourself, to associate, and to assemble. There are also freedoms read into the First Amendment, and the greater Constitution, that are not explicitly found in the document. On that subject, Justice McReynolds once wrote that ‘liberty’, “…denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

But, there are limits to these rights

For instance, you are generally not protected from arrest, prosecution, and/or potential civil liability, if you:

  • Communicate libel, slander or obscenity;
  • Direct or incite imminent lawless action that is likely to incite or produce such action;
  • Obstruct or harass others after they have informed you that they are not interested in your message, or
  • Demonstrate on private property without permission (unless you own or lease said property)

But these are often fact intensive determinations.  The Government has a long history of attempting to intimidate, bully, and silence those who wish to speak out.  This is particularly true when the dissenting speech is political in nature. Protecting dissenting opinions and ideas about the political system is exactly what the framers of the Constitution wrote the First Amendment to protect.  As Justice Holmes so eloquently stated almost a century ago “[t]he ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas – that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”

The key is to understand both the broad protections provided by the First Amendment, and its limitations.  If in your lawful exercise of those rights you find yourself afoul of the law, it is imperative, and ironic, that you immediately assert your rights to remain silent, and then for an attorney well versed in Free Speech litigation.

It’s your future. It’s your Freedom. It’s your Call.

Free Consultation 24/7 (213) 330-3341

SNIPES FACED 16 YEARS IN PRISON UNTIL BARNES' DEFENSE LED THE JURY TO CLEAR SNIPES OF SERIOUS TAX CHARGES. HE IS THE THIRD CLIENT OF BARNES' WHO OBTAINED A STUNNING MAJOR OUTCOME WHERE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FAILED TO WIN CONVICTIONS.

The New York Times

February 2
"Wesley Snipes cleared of serious charges"

Barnes Law

601 South Figueroa Street, Suite 4050
Los Angeles, CA 90017

213.330.3341
310.510.6225

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