State of Washington v. Dawley

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Mr. Dawley, a disabled veteran who frequently called police about a variety of non-emergency issues, was arrested and charged with three counts of intimidating a public servant and a count of telephone harassment after a series of complaints to police about how he was treated. The police claimed Mr. Dawley’s statements and conduct were threats and he was convicted of two counts of intimidating a public servant and one count of telephone harassment. ACLU-WA filed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Dawley’s argument on appeal that the statute criminalizing intimidating a public servant is unconstitutionally overbroad and limits protected speech because it fails to distinguish “true threats” from strongly worded but constitutionally protected complaints about the police.