Wisconsin teenager wins lawsuit over COVID social media post | Latest news
MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – A Wisconsin high school student on Friday won a federal lawsuit she filed against a sheriff who threatened her with jail at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic if she did not remove posts about social media saying she had the virus.
U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig has ruled Amiyah Cohoon’s constitutional right to free speech was violated when a Marquette County Sheriff’s Deputy in March 2020 asked the Oxford teenager to withdraw her posts on Instagram or to be arrested.
“The First Amendment is not a framework for the government to turn on and off,” the judge wrote. “It applies in times of tranquility and in times of conflict.”
The Wisconsin Institute for Liberty and Law has filed a lawsuit against Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant. Luke Berg, the lawyer who filed the case, said that “this ruling highlights that First Amendment rights cannot be enforced in an emergency. More importantly, law enforcement has no not trying to regulate social media posts by local teens. “
Samuel Hall, attorney for the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department for Marquette County, said at the time the lawsuit was filed that the girl’s messages “caused distress and panic within the school system and that the police acted in good faith at the request of school health officials. effort to avoid an unfounded panic.