Free Speech Coalition Issues Statement on 2257 Decision

CANOGA PARK, Calif.—This morning, Free Speech Coalition Board Chair Jeffrey J. Douglas issued the following statement on behalf of the organization regarding the decision of Judge Michael M. Baylson in Free Speech's and others' lawsuit against 2257:

"We are reviewing the 74-page opinion by Federal District Court Judge Baylson.  We expect to issue a more detailed statement later. 

"Given the earlier decision issued by Judge Baylson which was reversed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, we are not surprised by his refusal to grant more extensive relief, especially in the First Amendment arena. 

"We are pleased by much of his Fourth Amendment analysis, where he acknowledges the structural incompatibility of the statute and regulations with Americans’ rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.  Although he did not issue an injunction against unannounced, warrantless searches, he declined only because he was convinced that the Government would not do so in the foreseeable future.  He went out of his way to say that if the Government did again proceed with unannounced, warrantless searches, injunction relief would be available.  Most significantly, he did hold unconstitutional unannounced, warrantless searches of private homes for 2257 records, something the government did in over 20 percent of the past inspections.

"Even on the First Amendment issues, the trial court record gives us great optimism for appeal by the Third Circuit of Appeals.  Many of Judge Baylson’s findings in both First Amendment and Fourth Amendment areas provide a strong basis for reversal and the ultimate dismantling of 18 U.S.C. section 2257."