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Supco ruling: ‘revenge porn’ not protected free speech

December 31, 2020 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the state’s revenge porn law, ruling that sharing nude images of a person without their consent is not constitutionally protected free speech.

The Star Tribune reports the unanimous ruling Wednesday reverses an earlier order by the state Court of Appeals, which struck down the 2016 law which made it a crime to publish, sell or disseminate private explicit images and videos without the person’s consent.

That means outstanding cases that were on hold for about a year can now be prosecuted.

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The challenge to the state law followed the 2017 conviction of Michael Anthony Casillas, who was found guilty of felony nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.

Casillas was sentenced to nearly two years in prison. He initially asked the district court to dismiss the case against him, arguing that the law was too broad and violated his constitutional rights. The court rejected the motion.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals later reversed his conviction and ruled that the law uses an overly broad definition of obscenity and doesn’t require proof that the person disseminating the images “caused or intended a specific harm.”