The Mud Is Flung Despite State Laws Barring Political Lies; Does First Amendment Offer Protection?

Posted Oct 31, 2012 5:30 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weiss  In Ohio, making a false or misleading…

Georgia (Oct 31, 2012) — Posted Oct 31, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss 

Publication

Link To Article

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/the_mud_is_flung_despite_state_laws_barring_political_lies_first_amendment/

In Ohio, making a false or misleading statement in a political campaign is a misdemeanor that could bring a sentence of up to six months in jail.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer checked to see how many alleged violations led to prosecutions in the last decade. The answer: None.

Prosecutions can’t occur without a referral by the Ohio Elections Commission. There were no referrals in the last decade, and only a handful since executive director Philip Richter joined the commission in the mid-1990s. The board does make findings at an administrative level, however.

"Prosecutors have a very difficult job and should be prosecuting criminals,” Richter told the Plain Dealer, “not chasing after false statements in campaign materials in our opinion, unless it's particularly egregious."

Ohio is one of 20 states with laws barring false or misleading statements in political campaigns, the story says. Yet Kennesaw State University political science professor Robert Smith said he's seeing more misleading statements. "It has become more prevalent and more characteristic of political campaigns to play footloose and fancy-free with the facts," he told the Plain Dealer. 

 

 


 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

©