May 24, 2012

LEGAL INSURRECTION: Is conservative blogger in Georgia another victim of “lawfare”? I’d never heard of Rashad Richey or his felony conviction, but his lawsuit against a blogger pretty much ensures I’ll be hearing more about him. Key bit:

Richey had a series of misdemeanor convictions for criminal trespass and simple battery. Channel 2 Action News has now learned Richey also had a felony conviction for aggravated assault in 1998 but was sentenced as a first-time offender. When he completed his sentence, the felony was wiped from his record.

That doesn’t mean it never happened, though, and suing people is no way to keep it from being mentioned. I’ve warned people about this kind of thing. More than once.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh is unimpressed with Richey’s complaint.

So Richey’s only argument seems to be that calling someone with several misdemeanor conviction and one felony conviction that was expunged (just because it was a first offense, and not on the grounds that Richey had been exonerated) a “recidivist” is recklessly or knowingly false because “recidivist” is reserved for people with multiple felony convictions. But I don’t think that the term is limited to felonies in ordinary language, and I don’t think reasonable readers of the blog would have so understood the word; rather, a typical lay reader would likely see it as simply accusation of multiple criminal offenses — an accusation that appears to be true.

And that is being talked about more, thanks to Richey’s suit. Criminal record aside, this kind of obvious PR stupidity ought to disqualify him for a political-director slot on its own, I’d think.

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