April 8, 1989
is acquitted of harassing talk
CONN. - A judge
ordered an acquittal Tuesday in the trial
of a man who was charged with harassment
because he made frequent anti-Zionist
calls to a radio talk show.
Thomas Speers, 44, was arrested
in January 1986 after talk-show host
Jay Clark filed a complaint with
About two hours after the prosecution
rested its case Tuesday, Superior Court
Judge Anthony V DeMayo ordered an
acquittal. The case never went to the
DeMayo said Speers was exercising his
First Amendment right of free speech in
calling Clark's program.
Clark, host of the weekday "Talk of the
Town" program on WATR-AM in Waterbury,
complained to police about Speers'
frequent telephone calls and post cards.
Clark, who is Jewish, testified that he
thought he was a victim of "Jew baiting"
because Speers frequently complained about
Speers contended that his calls and
post cards were protected by the First
Amendment. He also denied being
anti-Semitic, saying his calls were
anti-Zionist and anti-Israel.
said: "His choice of language might be
unpleasant, but I heard nothing that
might be obscene or that could be
categorized as fighting words. All of
it falls under the category of
political speech. "What upsets me most
about the state's position is that the
reason we are prosecuting the defendant
is that his views differ so vehemently
from those of the talk-show
After the trial ended, Speers said he
probably would resume calling Clark's
program. He had ceased making his calls
after his arrest.
Clark testified that Speers calls upset
him. He said Speers would call to make
such comments as "Jews kill Arab babies"
and "Did you know there are concentration
camps in Israel?"
The talk-show host said he kept some
tapes of telephone calls from Speers, but
he had no record of calls in which Speers
made statements that Clark found
Clark also testified that he frequently
made personal attacks against Speers on
the air and wasn't aware of federal
regulations regarding such attacks.
Under the so-called Fairness Doctrine,
the target of a personal attack must be
supplied with a transcript, tape or
summary of the attack. The target also
must be afforded on-air time to