Details: On November 1, 2011 the Freedom to Read Foundation filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court in the case of Michigan v. Kilpatrick. The case involves former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted of obstruction of justice and assault of a police officer, and who is currently under indictment for tax evasion, mail fraud, extortion, and bribery.
The brief supports Kilpatrick’s application to the court to hear an appeal of an order escrowing all proceeds from his book, Surrendered: The Rise, Fall & Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick, which an intermediate appellate court refused to hear.The brief holds that Michigan’s version of a "Son of Sam” law—in which a convicted criminal is required to forfeit all proceeds from a book that mentions the crime—unconstitutionally chills protected speech. FTRF was joined in the brief by the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and PEN American Center.
The brief was written by FTRF Trustee Jonathan Bloom, who is General Counsel to AAP.
Weber et al. v. Davis School District: Utah school library book removal
Status: Victory! This case was settled on January 31, 2013, resulting in full reinstatement of In Our Mothers' House and a commitment not to ban books based on the Utah law banning promotion of homosexuality. See FTRF's blog post on the settlement, and read the official settlement.
Details: This lawsuit challenges the decision by the Davis County School District to remove all copies of the children’s picture book In Our Mothers' House from the district’s library shelves and place the book behind a counter where students must have written parental permission to view and access the book. The school district made its decision following a complaint by a parent that the book "normalizes a lifestyle we don’t agree with,” despite a finding by the original reconsideration committee that the book should be retained in the library. The district claims that, by telling the story of children raised by same-sex parents, the book constitutes "advocacy of homosexuality,” in purported violation of Utah’s sex-education laws.
The lawsuit seeks an order returning the book to school library shelves without restriction and prohibiting the school district from restricting access to books in the library on the grounds that the books contain "homosexual themes” or "advocacy of homosexuality.”