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Mont. man challenges law banning offensive speech

By Associated Press
Published On: Nov 13 2012 08:09:48 AM MST
Updated On: Nov 13 2012 08:24:47 AM MST
HELENA, Mont. -

A Montana man says a law used to charge him for using sexual slur against a public employee criminalizes free speech.
Randall Dugan is asking the Montana Supreme Court Tuesday to rule the state's Privacy in Communications law unconstitutional. He argues his offensive speech is protected.
Dugan used the slur against a Gallatin County Victim Assistance Program worker in an October 2009 phone call after she said she would not help him obtain a protection order against his children's mother, who was to be released from prison.
State attorneys defending the law say it provides fair notice to a person of ordinary intelligence what kind of conduct is forbidden.
They say the Dugan used "fighting words" that are not protected and the state can ban conduct that violates privacy interests.