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New York Court Decides What Constitues Harrassment, Finds for the Defendant


A New York Injury Lawyer said the plaintiff in the case is the People of the State of New York. The defendant in the case is Nicolas Pierre Louis.

Case History

This case begins on or around February 22, 2010. A New York Injury Lawyer said the deposition from the plaintiff states that while employed as an Assistant District Attorney in the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, he began receiving voice mails from the defendant, Nicolas Pierre-Louis. The voice mails that were left on his phone were derogatory in nature and included statements such as “I’m coming at you with fury,” and “Bitch, you will lose your fucking job,” as well as many other profanities and offensive statements.

The plaintiff states that the voicemails that he received were alarming and annoying. He also states that he feared for his safety as well as the safety of another Assistant District Attorney that worked in the office.

Defendant Argument

The defendant argues that although his statements were vulgar in nature and offensive, they are protected through the right of free speech and therefore should not form the basis for a criminal charge against him.

Plaintiff Argument

The plaintiff in the case offers the voicemails and transcripts of what was left on his voicemail as evidence of harassment. He states that he was fearful by the anger and the comments that were made by the defendant and that this constitutes the basis for harassment charges.

Case Discussion

A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said the issue of freedom of speech is one that has been contemplated in courts many times over the years. The issue arises when statements are made that others may find harmful and insulting. In the case of Chaplinsky versus New Hampshire described the use of “fighting words” or words that by their very expression tend to incite an immediate breech of peace. In this case the prosecution of the defendant was permitted on the basis of the speech that was given. Additionally, there have been cases that allowed the prosecution of the defendant where words sought to produce lawless actions or were true threats. A true threat is a statement where the speaker intends to communicate the intent of harm to an individual or a group of individuals.

On the other side of the issue, courts have been quick to strike down cases where the laws proscribe that the speech is entitled to First Amendment protection. One such case is that of Simon versus Schuster, which the court stated that “Regulations that permit the government to discriminate on the basis of content of the message cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment.”

Case Results

In this particular case, the vagueness and overbreadth of the statements made by the defendant are apparent. Even the statement of “I am coming at you with fury,” is not deemed to be threatening to a level that constitutes over riding the freedom of speech amendment. A Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyer said that lthough the statements that were left on the plaintiff’s voice mail are disturbing, vulgar, and filled with profanities, the statements are not felt to constitute “fighting words.”

For these reasons the court finds in favor of the defendant. According to the principles of the First Amendment, the Court dismisses the case.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates has law offices conveniently located throughout the metropolitan area of New York. For anyone that is in need of legal consultation, whether it be for harrassment, medical malpractice wrongful death, we are here to help. Our team of lawyers can advise you on what legal action will be in your best interest and help you through any issues that you may have. You may contact us at one of our offices at any time for a free consultation.

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