The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed a Topeka man’s conviction for threatening another man, saying a law used to convict him criminalizes free speech.
The court based its decision on its October ruling that struck down a provision of the criminal threat law that made it a crime to speak with reckless disregard for whether one’s comments would cause fear.
The court found that the law could make some protesters’ comments illegal, violating free speech guarantees.
A Shawnee County District Court jury in 2016 had convicted Kent Lindemuth of making a criminal threat to Michael Matthews.
The Shawnee County jury convicted Lindemuth of one count of criminal threat for allegedly threatening Matthews before he left Oklahoma.
Lindemuth appealed the case to the Kansas Court of Appeals, which in 2018 reversed the trial court’s ruling.
The Supreme Court agreed that the conviction should be reversed.
The Shawnee County District Attorney’s office can try Lindemuth again or dismiss charges.