By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Reilly versus freedom of speech

According to this post at Blue Mass Group, Attorney General Tom Reilly is pushing ahead in his efforts to help the State Police suppress an online video of a man being arrested in his home.

In April, a federal judge ruled that the video — posted with the arrestee’s permission — could remain on the Web as a matter of free speech. The arrestee, Paul Pechonis, and the person who posted the video, Leominster resident Mary T. Jean, claim that the clip shows State Police taking Pechonis into custody without a warrant.

Last month I gave the State Police a Phoenix Muzzle Award for their persecution of Jean, who could be facing up to two years in prison for having the temerity to exercise her constitutional rights.

I don’t know the identity of the person who posted the item to Blue Mass Group, and I’m also concerned that the item links back to Jean’s own Web site — hardly a neutral source of information.

But as this May 12 story the Worcester Telegram & Gazette makes clear, Reilly’s stand on the wrong side of this First Amendment issue is not new. Let’s hope that U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor makes his preliminary injunction permanent.

And perhaps someone can ask Reilly at the next gubernatorial debate whether he would have prosecuted the person who made the Rodney King video.

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  1. Anonymous

    Reilly can go poop in a hat. Remember his efforts to hide the fact that the Murphy sisters, who were killed in a wreck in Northboro, were partying at a fellow minor’s house before they died, because the kid could have been charged? Did you read that wierd Joan Venocchi column over the weekend? Sort of a pseudo-news story about Reilly staffers courting anti-Coke people to swiftboat Patrick? Throw that in with other Reilly snafus, and he’s not lookin’ too good come primary season.

  2. Anonymous

    Dan,Thanks for posting this. I have my reasons for staying anonymous at least for now. But I think the paper trail speaks for itself. As soon as the filing by the AG’s office becomes available I would think Jean will post it to her Web site. I’ll be sure to put a link at BMG. In the mean time, your readers can go to the YouTube site at: grab the code. They can then embed it in their site. Let’s see if the AG has the stomach (or budget) to go after everone who posts it.

  3. Anonymous

    Wow, never thought I’d wind up on the same side as ACLU but right is right. If Reilly gets the vote of every contributor he has broomed, the guy has a shot.

  4. Steve

    Dan – a nit: As I understand this, the claim is not that Pechonis was taken into custody without a warrant, it is that the premises were searched without a warrant.

  5. Anonymous

    Well, yes and maybe. The police definitely searched without a warrant AFTER Pechonis was in cuffs. That distinction is important because, as I understand it, the law allows police to search within lunging distance for things a suspect might use to hurt someone if he could grab them. If you look at the tape, police went all through the house (what the heck were they doing UPSTAIRS for several minutes??) after Pechonis peacably allowed himself to be handcuffed.As for an arrest warrant? They didn’t exactly show him one if you look at the video carefully. He claims he hasn’t seen one to this day. That is something the press should be asking about. Either there was an arrest warrant or there wasn’t. The police should be called on to produce the warrant if indeed they had one.

  6. Bruce

    What’s that? Tom Reilly taking a big steamy dump on the Bill of Rights?I’m shocked.

  7. Anonymous

    Hey, Paul Pechonis here.The Police never produced an arrest warrant or a search warrant, and what you don’t see in the video is a swat team flanking my home. The arrest was for a misdemeanor (They allege I called for the execution of some judge I’ve never meet on a website no one’s ever seen) Those are some pretty heavy handed arrest tactics, don’t you think?

  8. Anonymous

    well the way you talk about these people, I would send a SWAT team too.

  9. bonuskill

    So you oppose free speech?

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