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Stalking Conviction Overturned On First Amendment Grounds

The North Carolina Court of Appeals building.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has overturned a man's felony stalking convictions, finding his social media posts are protected under the First Amendment.

The man, Bradley Shackelford, met a woman at a Charlotte church in 2015. After she turned down his dinner invitation, he made a series of social media posts over several months referencing the woman as his "soul mate" and "future wife."

He also sent letters and cupcakes to the woman's home and office, despite a court granting her a no-contact order.

In 2017, Shackelford's social media posts were used as evidence on which he was convicted of felony stalking.

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday found the law had been misapplied in the case, writing that while the social media posts are offensive to the woman, they're protected as free speech under the Constitution.

The state attorney general's office has not indicated whether it will appeal.