Friday, September 13, 2013
A former Ascension Parish employee faces one misdemeanor count of online impersonation under a Louisiana statute passed last year. Ascension Parish prosecutors say she created a fake Facebook profile using the name "Kimmie Braud," a name extremely close to the name of her former supervisor, Kimberly Braud, and then made fun of that boss online. Ms. Braud discovered the profile and filed a criminal complaint last year, which led to the charge against Patricia James, according to this story in the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Ms. James's attorneys say the profile is satire, and the Louisiana statute amounts to an unconstitutional prior restraint.
The statute reads in part:
(A)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to intentionally impersonate another actual person, without the consent of that person, in order to engage in any of the following:
(a)Open an electronic mail account, any other type of account, or a profile on a social networking website or other Internet website.
(b) Post or send one or more messages on or through a social networking website or other Internet website. (2)It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to send an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or other form of electronic communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to another actual person without the consent of that person and with the intent to cause the recipient of the communication to believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication.