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This Just In: Harvey Silverglate on Eliot Spitzer, newspapers, and Milan Kohout

I have two articles in the March 13, 2008 issue of the Boston Phoenix. In the first, Jan Wolfe and I criticize the ill-advised arrest of performance artist Milan Kohout and follow up on his case, which was dismissed in Massachusetts court. In the second article, I report on newspapers' annoying tendency to censor swear words even when those words are at the core of the story being reported.

I also published an op-ed in the March 15, 2008 issue of the Boston Globe, in which I describe how vague and easily pliable federal statutes have created a situation in which the Department of Justice can concoct a novella-length federal indictment out of disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's meeting a prostitute in a Washington, D.C. hotel room. Spitzer's vulnerability to federal prosecution, I argue, is part of a larger trend in federal law enforcement that has surprised defendants who have landed in trouble for acts, unlike the act of prostitution in Spitzer’s case, that they reasonably did not believe were intuitively criminal.

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