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Constitutional Law – Prisons – freedom of speech

It did not violate the First Amendment for prison officials to confiscate a prisoner’s Black Panther literature, but it did violate due process to send him to segregation without notice that the literature was prohibited.

“At least a third of the inmate population of the prison is affiliated with gangs and the plaintiff himself is believed to be a member of the Gangster Disciples.”

“Confiscating the plaintiff’s copy of the Ten-Point Program limited free speech only very slightly. Freedom of speech does imply freedom to read. Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 565
(1969); King v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 415 F.3d 634, 638 (7th Cir. 2005) (‘forbid a person to read and you shut him out of the marketplace of ideas and opinions that it is the purpose
of the free-speech clause to protect’). But does it also imply freedom to copy? That freedom is limited by copyright law and by norms against plagiarism, without the law or the norms being
thought to present First Amendment issues. Freedom of speech is not absolute, and the curtailment challenged in this case is slight and the justification adequate, though not ample.”

Affirmed in part, and vacated in part.

11-3914 Toston v. Thurmer

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Stadtmueller, J., Posner, J.

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