Judge won’t drop hate-crime charges in school graffiti case

GLENELG, Md. (AP) — A judge says he won’t drop hate-crime related charges against teens who argued the racial slurs and swastikas found at a Maryland high school were constitutionally protected free speech.

Four Glenelg High School seniors were charged with misdemeanors after the graffiti was found spray-painted in May. Attorneys for 18-year-old Matthew Lipp and 18-year-old Tyler Curtiss had filed separate motions to dismiss counts related to religious or racial harassment.

News outlets report Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone said Tuesday that the teens lost their First Amendment rights when they defaced school property. He said the arguments would be “much more compelling” if they had “allegedly sprayed their own homes with these obnoxious messages.”

Lipp and Curtiss’ attorneys say they want their clients’ cases heard in state appeals courts.

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