Are you allowed to mock a judge in a courtroom in the name of freedom of expression?

Sure. Better still, do it in your own name.

They for their part (the judge, I mean) are allowed to slap a fine and possibly, jail time on you for contempt of court. Have the bailiffs take you away, if you don’t settle down.

“Allowed” is the wrong word for a grown-up. You are the one who allows your actions. Consequence can’t stop you. You can just wind up in it. I’m pretty sure you knew all about potential legal consequence when you chose. Can it stop you?

It can’t. You can. Your call. All they can do is punish.

Freedom of expression is about what you are able to say or express. Freedom involves some dimension wherein one’s own action is unrestricted. Freedom does not involve others’ reactions being restricted. Every action has or can have consequence.

Freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence.

In a court, traditionally, the gravity of the proceedings is such the we the people allow some latitude to the judge for what kind of nuisances the court has to put up with. This is hardly cruel or unusual, if you care to check it. Next time you’re in anyone’s place – their place, not yours, they invited you in, you remain by their welcome and sufferance, you have no right to be there – mock your host, why don’t you? In your name or in that of freedom of expression.

You may find they are free to revoke their welcome, and eject you from the premises. Now, true, they can’t fine you or order your incarceration, but there’s no particularly publicly-recognized gravity of proceedings in anybody’s house. “GET OUT” is more than sufficient, giving private individuals discretion to punish people (take what’s theirs, including property, liberty) who they’ve invited in to their houses would seem unwarranted.

Apart from acts of fraud, or the actual planning or threatening of crimes (which may have an incidental speech component), expression is in most places unpunishable. You can express yourself with impunity. Your speech is free. Only in very strict and limited settings can you be punished for expression. Only where we the people have okayed that, for reasons we consider weighty enough that our consent has been won over to it.In other places – places not yours, places you’ve no right to be – you can merely be expelled.

That courtroom’s not your house. It’s ours. We not only expect, we demand an impartial justice and an orderly proceeding in there. I suggest if you have no business there, stay out. I suggest if business compels you to be there, behave in a businesslike way.

But guess what?

You are the one who allows you.

Quit asking what you’re allowed to do, and grow up. If you want to investigate, investigate what the potential consequences are, not how “allowed” you are. What can they do to you?

Fine. A fine or jail time, as I understand it. If you’ve tons of money, the first is inconsiderable to you.

I’m quite confident the worth of the second is inconsiderable enough to everyone else.

I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. If you are in need of legal counsel or guidance, do not seek within my answers. Instead, ask around or investigate online: who are the reliable attorneys near you? Call one of these and request a meeting to discuss your issues. It may be a case they can take, even make.

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