Court rules against Lauren Book on injunction
Image via Colin Hackley.

“Florida case law has mandated that threats via social media be directed to the individual — not by content, but by delivery"

Pointing to First Amendment rights, a divided South Florida appeals court Wednesday overturned an injunction that state Sen. Lauren Book had obtained against a man she accused of cyberstalking and harassing her.

The case involves Book, a Plantation Democrat who is a widely known advocate for victims of child abuse and sexual abuse, and Derek Logue, an outspoken critic of sex-offender laws. After Book accused Logue of cyberstalking and harassment, a Broward County circuit judge last year issued an injunction that included a series of requirements designed to prevent Logue from having contact with the lawmaker or threatening her.

But Logue appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeal, where a panel, in a 2-1 decision Wednesday, overturned the injunction on free-speech grounds.

In part, the ruling said Logue posted on his website information such as Book’s home address and posted on social media a cartoon that depicted a tombstone with an obscene reference to Book. But the ruling said he did not communicate directly with Book about the posts, a requirement under state law for an injunction against stalking or cyberstalking.

“Florida case law has mandated that threats via social media be directed to the individual — not by content, but by delivery — to fall within the purview of (the law),” said the seven-page majority opinion by judges Melanie May and Mark Klingensmith. “The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and expression, even if distasteful and vulgar. Although the appellant’s (Logue’s) position may be socially abhorrent, he has a First Amendment right to express his views. While we understand and appreciate the appellee’s (Book’s) fear, the First Amendment protects the appellant’s despicable speech and his right to make it. For this reason, we must reverse the injunction.”

May, however, wrote a concurring opinion that appeared to suggest uneasiness, saying that perhaps “thought should be given to whether the law should provide some protection for those at which social media directs its attention.”

“I concur with the majority because Florida’s statutory scheme and case law dictates the outcome,” May wrote. “I write to express my concern that in the day and age in which we live social media postings, such as those involved here, have led people to lash out and wreak havoc on our children, families, friends, and communities.”

Judge Cory Ciklin dissented but did not issue a written opinion.

A footnote in the majority opinion said an Alabama court in 2001 convicted Logue of improper relations with a minor. Book, who suffered sexual abuse by a nanny when she was a child, leads the advocacy group Lauren’s Kids, along with her role as a lawmaker.

In addition to the online posts, Book also testified in circuit court about other instances of alleged harassment, including Logue protesting at a children’s march in Tallahassee. But the appeals court said the protest “served a legitimate purpose even as objectionable as it may be.”

“The appellant’s Tallahassee protest was by all accounts peaceful — even if unpleasant in its scope and message,” the ruling said. “Each party is a vocal advocate for opposite positions on sex offender laws. This is an issue currently debated within what (former U.S. Supreme Court) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once described as the ‘free trade in ideas.’ True, one side of this debate has far greater public support than the other, but that does not make the appellant’s advocacy illegitimate.”

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  • Derek Logue of

    August 14, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I bet ol’ Peter Schorsh cried while having to type this report. Even with the spin you tried putting on it, at the end of the day, the appeals court had to rule on the US Constitution, just as y’all had to report the facts.

    I’ll leave you folks with this delicious crow recipe. Bon Appetit!

    Summer Crow Kabobs
    submitted by Gordon Krause (Crow Busters Founder)
    16 pieces of crow breast meat (no bones) (8 crows)
    16 pieces of green pepper
    16 cherry tomatoes
    8 button mushrooms
    8 ears of sweet corn
    1 1/2 cups of Teriyaki sauce
    1/2 cup melted butter
    8 kabob skewers

    Cut each piece of crow in half and place in a covered bowl with the Teriyaki sauce over night. Clean and cut each ear of corn into 3 pieces. Cook in boiling salt water for 10 minutes. Alternately put corn (3 pieces), green peppers (3 pieces) and cherry tomatoes (3) along with 4 pieces of crow meat on each skewer. Use 1 mushroom to top each skewer. Brush with melted butter and place on preheated grill for about 4 minutes. Flip, butter again and place back on grill for another 4 minutes. Repeat one last time for a total of 12 minutes or until they appear done. Serves four adults.

    By the way, where’s the apology for erroneously calling me a stalker? That’s defamation of character, you know.

    • Christopher M. Kennard

      August 14, 2019 at 7:03 pm

      A footnote in the majority opinion said an Alabama court in 2001 convicted Logue of improper relations with a minor . . . is this accurate?

      • Fidelity

        August 14, 2019 at 11:16 pm

        Christopher, the unconstitutional registry is unconstitutionally public. You can find out for yourself if he has been convicted.

    • Val Parkworst

      August 16, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      Yes, Derek is proud of when he was 22 years old and had sex with an 11 year old child. It propelled him to the lofty status of “registered citizen,” a soapbox he uses to criticize anyone who dares to protect children from perverted sexual predators.

      • Book Crime Family

        August 28, 2019 at 2:52 pm

        Always the slanderer, “Val.” You never can publish the truth, can you? You are obviously more butthurt than Peter is right now.

Comments are closed.


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