Keith Henson Appeal: Time to Undo an Injustice - 2008-12-24
The well-known Scientology protester Keith Henson has filed an appeal to the Appellate Division of the Riverside County Superior Court of his criminal conviction in 2001 of misdemeanor "interfering with a religion" for picketing in front of a Scientology "base" in Hemet, CA. The ruling was roundly criticized as inconsistent with Henson's First Amendment rights to criticize Scientology: much of the evidence used against him consisted of general statements he made online that were very critical of Scientology but fell far short of the sort of "true threat" required to overcome his First Amendment rights. The trial court also limited his ability to explain his actions or present contrary evidence. The Court of Appeal should take a hard look at the case and reverse the conviction.