MINNEAPOLIS (AP) —  The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that a state law that makes it a crime to stalk someone by telephone is unconstitutional because it’s too broad.

Monday’s ruling overturns the conviction of a man who authorities say repeatedly left threatening messages for Rice County Sheriff’s Department and Social Services Department workers.

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Authorities say Jason Peterson’s messages in 2016 and 2017 frightened workers. But Peterson argued his convictions should be reversed because the state statute criminalizing phone stalking unconstitutionally restricts free speech.

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The appeals court agreed and invalidated the statute.

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