SEATTLE (AP) - A retired Air Force major is asking a federal court to declare Washington state's cyberstalking law unconstitutional, saying he's been threatened with prosecution - and up to a year in jail - for repeatedly making online posts that criticize a community activist.
Richard Lee Rynearson III filed the lawsuit against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Kitsap County Prosecutor Tina Robinson in U.S. District Court on Tuesday. It's within his free-speech rights to publish such criticism, he said.
One of his attorneys is Eugene Volokh, a University of California-Los Angeles law professor who in May challenged a similar law in Ohio.
"How can it possibly be constitutional to ban mean speech online?" Volokh said. "If someone is appalled by a local official and wants to embarrass them by posting things online, that's a crime?"