Kermit V. Lipez


In almost thirty-two years as a judge, I have written over 1300 opinions. Each of these opinions was important to the parties involved, yet some have gained more prominence than others. This essay addresses one of those—a 2011 decision that involves the First Amendment, the complex relationship between the police and the communities they serve, and the revolution in communications technology. I emphasize two points as I begin. I have enormous respect for police officers and their work. They risk their lives on the job—a reality that we have seen far too often in recent years—and go to work every day despite that risk. But I also support the close scrutiny of police work. I believe we can honor the work of the police while still acknowledging the need for independent review of their work. This essay describes the stakes in balancing those two values.

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