In Freeman v. State, (GA Sup. Ct., Oct. 2, 2017), the Georgia Supreme Court held that a congregant could not constitutionally be convicted of disorderly conduct for standing up in the back of the church, raising his middle finger in the air and staring angrily at the pastor.  Even though the pastor testified that he felt afraid for his safety at the time, the state Supreme Court held that defendant’s raised middle finger constituted constitutionally protected expression.  It said in part:Because there was no showing here that Freeman’s act of silently raising his middle finger from the back of the church during the church service constituted “fighting words” or a “true threat” that would amount to a tumultuous act, his conviction for disorderly conduct under OCGA § 16-11-39 (a) (1) cannot stand.Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on the decision.  [Thanks to TaxProf blog via Steven H. Sholk for the lead.] 



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