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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

#FREESPEECH in the News: January 27, 2020

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH in the News: January 27, 2020

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) First Amendment activist making video has encounter with guard at York County Prison

A York County man who was stopped from filming York County Prison while standing on the public sidewalk in front of the facility said his goal is to educate people about the importance of the First Amendment.

Tom Shirey, 58, of the East Prospect area, said he conducts First Amendment audits by going to public areas and filming, to see if he's challenged.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 22, Shirey stood in front of the prison and started filming, prompting a prison lieutenant and a man who did not identify himself to approach him, he said. In that nearly six-minute video, titled "Misinformed Lieutenant, York County Prison, York, PA, 1-22-20," Lt. Hare tells Shirey that filming from the sidewalk is prohibited and points out the sign at the front entrance stating as much.

2.) D.C. Circuit revives First Amendment challenge to anti-sex trafficking bill

A U.S. appeals court on Friday revived a constitutional challenge to a 2018 law aimed at curbing illegal sex trafficking on the internet.

This decision handed a victory to groups that say the legislation leads to censorship of lawful online content.

Reversing a lower court judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said an activist for sex workers and an Oregon-based massage therapist have standing to challenge the legislation, known as FOSTA, on First Amendment grounds.

3.) Judge: Students can’t be kicked out of UConn housing after allegedly shouting slurs

A federal judge has ruled that two University of Connecticut students cannot be kicked out of university housing while their First Amendment lawsuit is in progress.

Ryan Mucaj and Jarred Karal were arrested and charged last fall for repeatedly shouting racial slurs outside an on-campus residence, and face the potential loss of university housing from the school’s internal discipline process, the Hartford Courant reported Friday.

The students also face criminal charges of ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality, or race. Karal has been granted probation that could result in his criminal charges being dismissed, Mucaj’s criminal case is pending.

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