Supreme Court declines to hear Connecticut speech case
HARTFORD — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the appeal of a Connecticut man who said his right to free speech was violated when he was arrested and convicted of threatening the judge in his divorce case.
Edward Taupier, 53, of Cromwell, recently finished an 18-month prison sentence for threatening state Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto, who is now the deputy chief court administrator of the Connecticut court system.
The Supreme Court did not explain why it declined to hear Taupier’s case, as is custom in such rejections. Taupier was trying to appeal a decision in September by the Connecticut Supreme Court that upheld his convictions.
Prosecutors said Taupier sent an email to six acquaintances in 2014 that described Bozzuto’s home and how certain rifles could be fired at it from a nearby cemetery. The email was a “hyperbolic expression of vitriol” protected by free speech rights, Taupier’s lawyer, Norman Pattis, wrote in a brief to the Supreme Court.
“It’s a bad day for the First Amendment. We are obviously disappointed,” Pattis said Tuesday.
Taupier argued he did not send Bozzuto the email and had no intent to terrorize her.
Bozzuto testified at trial that she was so worried about Taupier’s comments that she did a “massive” security upgrade at her home, alerted officials at her children’s school, had judicial marshals escort her to her car in the evenings and told a relative not to come to her home without a police escort.
In addition to the 18 months Taupier served for threatening Bozzuto, Taupier also served a concurrent four-month sentence for making separate online threats to kill judges and employees at the state courthouse in Middletown.