MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota appeals court has ruled a state law created to prevent predators from luring children into sexual encounters through social media is unconstitutional.

The 18-page ruling issued Monday says the state statute has the potential to stifle free speech protected under the First Amendment.

The Star Tribune says the case involves a woman who served lunch at a Dakota County middle school who was charged with sexting a 15-year-old student. A district court judge dismissed one of her charges, ruling it was unconstitutional. Prosecutors appealed, saying sexting wasn't constitutionally protected.

Defense attorney John Westrick says the law attempts to criminalize conduct even before there is intent to commit a crime. In the lunch lady's case, she told the boy they wouldn't get together for four or five years.


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