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US Supreme Court to rule on animal cruelty law
Topics | 2009/04/21 09:32
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it would decide whether a federal law that makes it a crime to sell videos of animals being tortured or killed violates constitutional free-speech rights.
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The high court agreed to hear a U.S. Justice Department appeal defending the 1999 animal cruelty law after it was struck down for infringing free-speech protections./pspan id=midArticle_4/spanpA U.S. appeals court declared the law unconstitutional and overturned the conviction of a Virginia man, Robert Stevens, who sold three videos of pit bulls fighting each other and attacking hogs and wild boars./pspan id=midArticle_5/spanpHis conviction in 2005 was the first in the country under the law. Stevens had been sentenced to 37 months in prison./pspan id=midArticle_6/spanpBy a 10-3 vote, the appeals court rejected the government's argument that, for the first time in more than 25 years, there was a new category of speech not covered by constitutional free-speech protections. Usually, videos and other depictions are protected as free speech, even if they show abhorrent conduct./p

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