Judge: Release Occupy Tweets

John Minchillo / AP Photo

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators stand and cheer in front of the George Washington statue on Wall Street as they celebrate the protest's sixth month, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in New York. With the city's attention focused on the huge St. Patrick's Day Parade many blocks uptown, the Occupy rally at Zuccotti Park on Saturday drew a far smaller crowd than the demonstrations seen in the city when the movement was at its peak in the fall. A couple hundred people attended.

A Criminal Court judge in New York ruled on Monday that Twitter had to release an Occupy Wall Street protester’s tweets, saying that “what you give to the public belongs to the public.” Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. indicated that although private speech is protected, the same did not apply to public comments made on Twitter. Brooklyn writer Malcolm Harris was arrested with about 700 protesters in November 2011, and in January, the district attorney’s office subpoenaed Harris’s tweets. Harris’s lawyer tried to quash the subpoena—as did Twitter—but Sciarrino declared the tweets contain important information about whether police led protesters off the pedestrian paths and into the bridge’s roadway, a key point prosecutors believe Harris plans to make at the trial over his arrest.