On Wednesday, Adam de Angeli of Rescue Michigan and Mark Gerhard, father of Lucas Gerhard, held a news conference at the Michigan Hall of Justice to discuss the Court of Appeals' decision in Lucas's case to effectively suspend the First Amendment in Michigan.
[This decision] is a dangerous rollback of our right to free speech and puts every single person in Michigan in legal jeopardy.
It declares "open season" on anybody, really, making hyperbolic statements on the Internet.
Someone could file – and perhaps even maliciously file – charges of terrorism, claiming that they felt threatened or were threatened, even if they weren't. And a prosecutor going rogue and bringing these charges – and we think certainly in Lucas's case, in bad faith – and destroying their lives.
So it's had a chilling effect on free speech across Michigan, and it puts all of us in serious danger.
CLORE: So it's almost as if this case is going to set precedent on how the courts decide to infringe on our first amendment rights moving forward.
DE ANGELI: If it's not reversed by a higher court, this IS precedent.
The court of Appeals has just given prosecutors all across Michigan – basically they've said it's open season on anybody that says something that's going to offend others.
If they take it to be a threat, we can call it a threat. And we drag you through a court system that's currently backlogged for years because of Covid.
Lucas has been awaiting justice for almost two full years now, and he's going to be waiting a lot longer. - until we get hopefully a reversal at a higher court, and if not, victory at trial.