Law \ Legal

Appeals Court to Decide First Amendment Citizen Journalism Case


All sixteen judges of the 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a potentially pivotal citizen journalism case this month, Roxanna Asgarian reports for The Texas Tribune. Texan Priscilla Villarreal started going live on Facebook in 2015 from crime scenes and picked up the moniker La Gordiloca, or “the big crazy lady.” Villarreal has sued the Laredo Police Department, along with the city of Laredo, Webb County, the local district attorney and others for arresting her during the course of her reporting.

“If the First Amendment means anything, it surely means that a citizen journalist has the right to ask a public official a question, without fear of being imprisoned.” Circuit Judge James C. Ho said in his opinion. “Yet that is exactly what happened here: Priscilla Villarreal was put in jail for asking a police officer a question.”

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