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For years, I've been writing extensively about criminal harassment laws (see, e.g., this law review article), and filing briefs in criminal harassment cases. But in April, my experience with harassment laws took a different turn—I learned that a criminal harassment case had been filed against me in New Jersey, under N.J. Stats. 2c:33-4(c):
[A] person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he … Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
The criminal summons noted that the complaint had been filed by one Andrew Bonner, and it was based on his assertion that, "to the best of his/her knowledge, information and belief, [Eugene Volokh] … did,"
And as it happens, I was indeed mailing material to Mr. Bonner at his home address. The New Jersey state police did contact me at his behest and told me he didn't want me mailing such material. And I did tell them that I wouldn't stop (though, as you might gather, I also told them why). The facts in his allegations were thus basically correct—so far as they went—though the legal characterization (that the material was "harassing" and "threaten[ed] further cyber-harassment and slander") was not.
Now you might think that, before the charges were filed, the prosecutor would have looked into why I was troubling Mr. Bonner so, and whether I was indeed acting "with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy" and "harass" him (which is what the statute requires).
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