The Missouri Supreme Court cited free-speech concerns Tuesday in striking down part of a state harassment law that was enacted after a teenager who was teased over the Internet committed suicide, the Associated Press reports. The 2008 law was intended to update harassment crimes by covering communication from computers, text messages and other electronic devices. It removed a requirement that messages be written or spoken over the telephone and defined harassment, in part, as covering anyone who “knowingly makes repeated unwanted communication to another person.”

The Missouri Supreme Court concluded the new definition was unconstitutional because it was too broad, potentially restricting communication by political ads, teachers or even Salvation Army bell ringers. The legislation was enacted after 13-year-old Megan Meier killed herself in October 2006. Megan, who had depression and attention deficit disorder, started communicating with “Josh” through MySpace pages…

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staff and wire services reports