The Onion, a satirical online magazine The Onion, a satirical online publication, submitted the amicus case to the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking to hear an appeal by an individual who was detained for allegedly creating fake Facebook pages that was a clone of a police department’s official account.
“Americans could be sent to jail for laughing with the authorities? This came as a shock to the nation’s Finest News Source and an painful learning experience for the editorial staff.” the brief starts.
It is renowned for its satirical, humorous take on the news of amicus briefs, The Onion’s usually submitted by parties with an interest in providing details pertinent to a particular case or legal issue — isn’t a piece of fiction.
The brief was filed in favor for Anthony Novak, who in the year 2016 started an account on Facebook that mocked police officers from the Parma Police Department. The page had posts that made mockery of the police department, including an announcement about an “official rest in the house and spend time with family time” to “reduce further crimes.” According to The Institute of Justice (IJ) which is a law firm that represents Novak.
IJ stated that that the Parma Police department “did not accept Anthony’s criticism” as did Novak. Novak was accused of a felony in accordance with the Ohio law that criminalizes using computers in order to “disrupt” “police activities.”
Novak later began a civil rights lawsuit and was denied, however his case was dismissed by Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals gave the police officials an immunity qualification -which is a legal principle that shields police officers from civil lawsuits arising from incidents that happen while in the field. So, the case of Novak was dismissed.
In September of this year, Novak’s legal team made an appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit’s decision, according to Cleveland.com.
The brief filed by the Onion’s amicus attorney is designed to convince that the Supreme Court to pursue the case. It also said that the Sixth Circuit’s decision “imperils the ancient art of communication.” The brief provided instances of Horace who was a Roman poetry and writing master, and the comedian Mark Twain.
“As Mark Twain put it”The funny story is told with a serious tone and the storyteller is able to cover any evidence that suggests that they doubts that there’s any humor in it.’ The Sixth Circuit on the wrong side of Twain however, grafting onto the reasonable-reader test the requirement that parodists expressly deny their own pretension to truth is an insult towards people in the American public. The test assumes that readers of all ages are not as sophisticated or humorous than they really do,” the brief said.
In a statement by Insider, Patrick Jaicomo, an attorney who is the lead in the case, stated that”The Institute of Justice is thrilled with the support of The Onion.
“As The Onion’s brief expertly shows parody — similar to the one for which Novak was. Novak was arrested, in jail, and then accused of a crime for by Parma, Ohio officials -is not just an extremely persuasive method to argue a point however, it’s also a type of speech completely protected by the First Amendment,” the statement stated. “We hope that The Onion’s case will assist us in convincing that the Supreme Court to take this case and ensure that First Amendment is enforceable in American courts.”
Representatives from The Onion did not immediately respond to the Insider’s request for comments.