2023-01-25 18:13:55

Citizen journalist's lawsuit heard by federal appeals court

By Kevin Mcgill

NEW ORLEANS An online citizen journalist from Texas asked federal appeals court judges Wednesday to revive her lawsuit against authorities who had her arrested for seeking and obtaining nonpublic information from police a case that has drawn attention from national media organizations and free speech advocates.

A state judge dismissed the criminal case against Priscilla Villarreal in 2018, saying the law used to arrested her in 2017 was deemed unconstitutionally vague, according to court briefs.

Villarreal, known on line as "La Gordiloca," then filed a lawsuit against the city of Laredo, Webb County and the police officers and prosecutors involved in her arrest. She said she's entitled to damages because she never should have been arrested for posting information on her Facebook page, Lagordiloca News LaredoTx.

I had to make the point that it's not right to get arrested for my freedom of speech and freedom of the press, Villarreal said outside the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building where arguments were heard Wednesday by the court's 16 active judges.

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