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United States v. Sayer

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
748 F.3d 425 (2014)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Shawn Sayer (defendant) for cyberstalking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A. Sayer pled guilty to the charge and did not dispute the government's evidence, which established that Sayer and Jane Doe dated between 2004 and 2006, when Doe ended their relationship. Sayer physically stalked Doe for four years, putting her in such fear that she changed her routines and sought a court protective order. In 2009, Sayer opened Internet social networking and chatroom accounts in Doe's name. Sayer posted sexually explicit photographs of Doe, which he had taken during their relationship. Pretending to be Doe, Sayer invited casual sexual encounters at her home and took part in sexually suggestive online chats. Sayer also posted Doe's photographs on at least three pornographic websites. In response to "Doe's" purported solicitations, strange men started showing up on the real Doe's doorstep at all hours of day and night. These visits terrorized Doe and led her to move to another state and change her name. Sayer soon located Doe under her assumed name, and made that name known to the Internet community. Sayer's online harassment continued until Doe reported him to the police, who launched an investigation that led to his arrest. The trial judge denied Sayer's motion to dismiss the case and entered a judgment of guilt. Sayer appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that § 2261A violated his First Amendment right to free speech.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, C.J.)

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