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January 1, Free Speech Triumphs: Court Clears Man Arrested for Covid Joke

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A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed the core values of free speech, marking a pivotal victory for citizens nationwide.

Waylon Bailey, who faced immense personal and legal turmoil after being arrested for a coronavirus-related joke he posted on Facebook, was vindicated by the court’s acknowledgment of his First Amendment rights.

The ordeal began back in March 2020 when Bailey, seeking to inject a little humor amidst the pandemic gloom, made a post comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to Brad Pitt’s 2013 film, “World War Z.”

His jesting remark, which playfully suggested the sheriff’s office was ordering deputies to shoot those infected, was taken gravely by local authorities.

Despite the tongue-in-cheek tone of his post, Bailey found himself confronted by a SWAT team from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and was subsequently arrested without a warrant, being accused of making a terroristic threat.

Though Bailey was released on bond and never prosecuted, the legal ramifications and personal loss he endured was immense. But in the wake of adversity, he found his footing, suing Detective Randell Iles and Sheriff Mark Wood for violating his First and Fourth amendment rights.

The district court had initially dismissed his claims, asserting that the defendants enjoyed qualified immunity and that Bailey’s post could be seen as potentially inciting lawless action.

But on Friday, justice swung in Bailey’s favor. The appellate judges astutely discerned that Bailey’s post, far from being a genuine threat or incitement to violence, was clearly a humorous jest.

They remarked that his allusion to a fictional character, Brad Pitt’s role in “World War Z”, was a blatant indicator of its non-serious nature.

The court’s statement was unequivocal, emphasizing that the post “did not direct any person or group to take any unlawful action immediately or in the near future … at worst, his post was a joke in poor taste, but it cannot be read as intentionally directed to incitement.”

As Ben Field, Bailey’s attorney, aptly expressed, the appeals court’s ruling is “a great victory for Waylon and for the Constitution.”

This landmark decision underscores the importance of safeguarding First Amendment rights online, ensuring citizens won’t live in fear of retribution for harmless jests.

Bailey, a professional boxer, spoke candidly about the profound relief he felt in the wake of the decision.

“It was a really good feeling knowing that the superior judges thought it was silly, too,” he stated. “I woke up with a much more blissful feeling, knowing the right decision was made.”

While the case is set for retrial in district court, it stands as a resounding affirmation of First Amendment rights.

In times marked by societal tension and legal complexities, the importance of preserving and upholding the principle of free speech remains paramount.

And as this case has proven, the U.S. judicial system remains a beacon of hope, ensuring that the tenets of the Constitution are upheld even when faced with modern challenges.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bud

    September 3, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    The “Swat Team” from the stupid sheriffs office, and the Sheriff acted like they never heard of the Constitution, what a bunch of ass wipes

  2. James Matthews

    September 3, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    Free speech means you can voice your opinion without fear of retribution from anyone else even if you say something against woke ideology. Authoritarian governments always try to silence anyone opposed to them and now it is happening daily in what was once our free country sad very sad

  3. Cathy

    September 3, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    I think it’s a sad time for all Americans when we have to be afraid of something we say, intended to be funny,or just an off the cuff comment… can get us in serious trouble. This is a free country and will always be a free country that belongs to its people..not just an elite few.

    • Recce

      September 4, 2023 at 6:17 am

      I must strenuously disagree with you, sadly, as much as I wish you were right.

      We must come to the realization that WE’RE NOT a free country anymore. For all intents and purposes, the Bill of Rights is moribund. We no longer have a democratic (VERY small d) REPUBLIC with an exegetically interpreted Constitution.

      Furthermore, we no longer have a free market capitalist economy with true Contract Law. What we have is a fascist economy. Here’s a good definition from the Internet of fascism. “Fascism is an economic model in which the state dictates the utilization of privately held assets to achieve public policy goals.” Is that not where we’re at?

      Democrat politicians at the federal level have advocated federal government ownership of large parts of our economic sectors such as in the health field, energy sector, and transportation. They’re advocating the elimination of protections afforded by the Bill of Rights and the main portion of the Constitution. The administration is advocating a means of tracking and controlling our economic life. And sadly, they’re supporting the weaponization of government agencies so as to suppress the rights of political opposition.

    • Recce

      September 4, 2023 at 6:21 am

      I must strenuously disagree with you, sadly, as much as I wish you were right.

      We must come to the realization that WE’RE NOT a free country anymore. For all intents and purposes, the Bill of Rights is moribund. We no longer have a democratic (VERY small d) REPUBLIC with an exegetically interpreted Constitution.

      Furthermore, we no longer have a free market capitalist economy with true Contract Law. What we have is a fascist economy. Here’s a good definition from the Internet of fascism. “Fascism is an economic model in which the state dictates the utilization of privately held assets to achieve public policy goals.” Is that not where we’re at?

      Democrat politicians at the federal level have advocated federal government ownership of large parts of our economic sectors such as in the health field, energy sector, and transportation. They’re advocating the elimination of protections afforded by the Bill of Rights and the main portion of the Constitution. The administration is advocating a means of tracking and controlling our economic life. And sadly, they’re supporting the weaponization of government agencies so as to suppress the rights of political opposition.

  4. John Cawley

    September 3, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    To think that a SWAT team was sent, at taxpayers expense, to deal with a joke is very disheartening. It clearly shows how thin skinned and woke the country has become under this failure of an administration.

  5. Stan Stanfield

    September 3, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    It won’t always be “a free country”” if we don’t get back to living under its rule of law – its Constitution. I refer to the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be conned by both of our major political parties in allowing people of both parties to run for the two highest offices in the land – those of POTUS and VP – who are not eligible for those positions. A person needs to be a ‘natural born’ citizen to hold those offices, which by definition at the time of the Constitutional Convention are persons “born in the country, of parents who are citizens” thereof. And that eligibility requirement for those two federal offices STILL STANDS, absent a constitutional amendment to the contrary. TPTB are hoping to get away with their scam, by way of an unaware public. Time to wake up, Citizen. Or this business, of not living under the rule of law, will continue, and grow; pushed by people who want to do this country in,and make of it but part of a region of their totalitarian New World Order. You have been warned.

  6. David

    September 3, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    Don’t you all realize that you are living in a country that is turning socialist (communist) and that the government and law enforcement are going to become more oppressive as we go along? Unless this country turns back to God and the constitution as it was written, we are headed for total lack of freedom and complete government control.

  7. Recce

    September 4, 2023 at 6:22 am

    Cathy, I must strenuously disagree with you, sadly, as much as I wish you were right.

    We must come to the realization that WE’RE NOT a free country anymore. For all intents and purposes, the Bill of Rights is moribund. We no longer have a democratic (VERY small d) REPUBLIC with an exegetically interpreted Constitution.

    Furthermore, we no longer have a free market capitalist economy with true Contract Law. What we have is a fascist economy. Here’s a good definition from the Internet of fascism. “Fascism is an economic model in which the state dictates the utilization of privately held assets to achieve public policy goals.” Is that not where we’re at?

    Democrat politicians at the federal level have advocated federal government ownership of large parts of our economic sectors such as in the health field, energy sector, and transportation. They’re advocating the elimination of protections afforded by the Bill of Rights and the main portion of the Constitution. The administration is advocating a means of tracking and controlling our economic life. And sadly, they’re supporting the weaponization of government agencies so as to suppress the rights of political opposition.

  8. kurt gandenberger

    September 4, 2023 at 11:25 am

    der fuhrer has declared nothing is funny anymore.

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