April 20, 2014

Hazy sunshine

Criminal charge dropped in Facebook case

MEDINA — The American Civil Liberties Union is applauding Friday’s dismissal in Medina Municipal Court of a criminal charge against a Lorain County man who posted a Facebook message cheering the Newtown, Conn., school gunman.

“Today’s dismissal further confirms our argument that the defendant’s statements were protected speech under the First Amendment,” said James Hardiman, legal director of the ACLU of Ohio. “His comments may have offended people, but that is not illegal.”

Joseph W. Resovsky, 20, of Columbia Station, was arrested the day after he posted on his Facebook home page, “im so happy someone shot up all those little (expletive). VIVA LA SCHOOL SHOOTINGS!!!!”

Resovsky posted the message Dec. 14, the day 20 children and six adults were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Resovsky told police he was tired of all the Facebook posts about the tragedy, saying he just wanted to see whether he could get comments.

Friday’s dismissal of the case was expected after the Medina city prosecutor filed a motion Jan. 10 asking that the charges be dropped “without prejudice” — meaning charges could be filed later if new evidence emerged.

Resovsky was arrested after a caller reported Resovsky’s Facebook posting and others cited it on the Medina Police Department’s Facebook page.

“There were quite a few posts where people were pretty upset by it,” Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said. “I think it scared a lot of people.”

Resovsky was charged with inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

He pleaded not guilty, arguing that the comments did not constitute a threat and were protected under the First Amendment.

The case drew the attention of the Ohio chapter of the ACLU, which provided lawyers to defend him.

Hardiman said Medina Law Director Greg Huber made the proper decision in requesting the dismissal following a review of the facts of the case.

“One of the many terrible things about tragedies like the Connecticut shooting is the climate of fear and anxiety they create all over the country,” Hardiman said. “In times like these, a clear legal line must be drawn between threatening behavior and protected free speech.”

  • James

    If every stupid person was arrested we wouldn’t have police. The bottom line is that this idiot’s civil rights were violated by Medina on several occasions. You CAN NOT imprison someone for poor taste. If he doesn’t sue, then is dumber than his actions would suggest.

  • Kim Sever

    I’d like to smear feces in his hair.

  • Guest

    filthy little Median piggies got their ass handed to them. oink oink u motherfuckers. I SUPPORT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, TOO!!! HOORAY FOR SANDY HOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002988705668 Molly Santucci

    filthy little Medina piggies got their ass handed to them. oink oink u motherfuckers. I SUPPORT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, TOO!!! HOORAY FOR SANDY HOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Buffalo

    Wow, a lot of people commenting here are about as brilliant as the guy who got arrested in the first place. Here’s a suggestion: get a life, stop playing on your computer, and go do something worthwhile.

  • kurt gatt

    Only Medina County would pull a stupid stunt by crossing county lines to make an arrest.Their only intention was to put the focus on them.Medina courts are the most corrupt in the state.Collier and Salisbury are case and point.God bless the children of Sandy Hook.It was terrible to say the least .Medina court system,Fuck You!. Gazette your equally responsible,you print shit when you do not have the complete story.Just keep kissing ass to get your half ass stories.You and the courts have a good scam running.Beware it can come to bite you in the ass.Things do not always appear as they seem.Stop printing your lame ass police blogs,such as eggs thrown at house no suspects!

  • Greg Thomas

    What kind of idiotic prosecutor would try to press charges against someone who didn’t threaten anyone?

  • Greg Thomas

    Prosecuting someone for saying something in bad taste is what we’d expect from a prosecutor in North Korea or china, but not in the United States where we’re supposed to have a 1st amendment. Why can’t the public’s scorn for the man’s poor taste be enough punishment? Why does the prosecutor think the public’s money should be wasted on cases like this? Doesn’t the prosecutor have any real cases to try? Jeez. What this guy said was repugnant, but it’s obvious to anyone with a brain that he was only trying to fire people up. Besides, he kind of has a point in that the media glorifies all of these shootings, and gives the shooters way too much attention. This unnecessary attention may be what’s causing all of these copycat shootings in the first place.