Jon Katz is fueled by a devotion to civil liberties / the First Amendment and against government and judicial oppression and libel laws, with criminal defense being the primary way he defends such liberties.
Of course, government and judicial oppression can come in other forms, including efforts to curb robust First Amendment-protected expression. Consequently, starting fifteen years ago, Jon’s practice has included libel defense/defamation defense, defense of political activists, and defense of adult entertainment (including strip clubs and adult video/adult toy stores).
For libel defense, Jon has advised potential and actual defendants, responded to lawyer letters seeking remedial action for alleged libel, and litigated on behalf of libel defendants. Jon believes that libel laws are antithetical to the First Amendment and to justice, and welcomes all opportunities to fight against libel suits.
Jon has robustly defended political activists’ rights to demonstrate and to speak out. Jon has defended political activists as diverse as Phil Berrigan and fellow Plowshares activists at their criminal trial; anti-globalization activists; animal rights demonstrators; and on the completely other end of the spectrum, the Westboro Baptist Church (with Jon heavily opposing the church’s messages but believing strongly in their right to express themselves without governmental and judicial censorship).
Jon has litigated to keep strip clubs and adult video stores open in the face of criminal enforcement efforts, and zoning actions. The Supreme Court has confirmed that the First Amendment applies to strip clubs and adult video stores.
RELEVANT EXTERNAL LINKS:
Virginia Code § 18.2-417. Slander / defamation / libel (non-jailable criminal statute)