3rd Circ. Says Judges' Opinions Protected By 1st Amendment

Law360, New York (April 3, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT) -- The Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects sitting judges from being criminally punished for their opinions, unless those opinions present a clear and present danger of prejudicing ongoing proceedings, in a precedential decision reversing criminal contempt convictions against a retired Virgin Islands judge.

A three-judge panel ruled that retired Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge Leon A. Kendall did not threaten ongoing proceedings when he wrote a scathing July 2009 opinion in the criminal trial of Basheem Ford and Jermaine Paris, two Virgin Islands...
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