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Opinion | Rape flier author given disorderly conduct plea

By Michael T. Gmoser
On November 8, 2012

The Miami rape flier issue concluded with the principal author/offender entering a plea of guilty to disorderly conduct.

His acceptance of responsibility is noteworthy in the face of contentious positions by those favoring or opposing any constitutional limits on the meaning of speech. Anyone advocating murder to silence a witness or victim will always get my attention and by comparison I expect anyone advocating the execution of a federal judge will also get a visit from a federal marshal or U.S. attorney.

There should be no debate that cases involving freedom of expression are determined by facts and circumstances of each individual case.

Authorship of outrageous words alone is usually not enough to remove constitutional protections. The actual intent and context are all important as they were in the consideration of this case.

Fortunately, a forest of trees will not have to be turned into legal briefs to argue the issue to higher courts and no one was incited to cause injury.

Miami University acted responsibly to mete out appropriate discipline, my office and police authorities acted appropriately to consider and fully investigate the circumstances of the publication and the now former student took responsibility for being book smart and socially stupid.

I expect the latter will change, as he has shown through his acceptance of responsibility for his words, that he can change for the better.


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