Lawrence G. Walters
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|Lawrence G. Walters|
|Website||Walters Law Group|
Lawrence G. Walters is an American First Amendment attorney and anti-censorship advocate. Walters currently heads up Walters Law Group, a boutique law firm focusing on First Amendment and Internet Law, and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida.
Walters is firmly rooted in the free speech camp, and regularly represents the interests of the online entertainment community. He has defended website operators in numerous high-profile obscenity cases, and regularly comments in the print and television media on Free Speech and Internet Law issues. Walters was listed in the Top Ten Percent of attorneys by the Orlando Business Journal, and has received a “10.0 – Superb” rating from AVVO.com.
Previously in 1999, Walters defended Tammy Robinson in the first obscenity case  based on website content. The charges were ultimately dismissed after Walters filed 2 federal lawsuits against prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies.
Walters has defended Chris Wilson against more than 300 obscenity charges arising from his operation of a controversial website which included images from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The case represented the first obscenity prosecution against a website based on user generated content, and was the subject of a Rolling Stone article.
In 2007, Walters defended Karen Fletcher, who was charged with obscenity based on written stories published on her website. The case tested the boundaries of obscenity law, and was covered by the New York Times.
Walters’ novel legal strategy in an obscenity case against Clinton McCowen  made front page headlines in the New York Times, as he announced plans to introduce Google Trends evidence showing that online users were more interested in sexually explicit topics than in generic terms like “apple pie” or “watermelon.” The case was settled shortly after Walters issues a subpoena to Google for supporting evidence.
Walters is also known as a prominent advocate for the free speech rights of protestors, street performers, and topless dancers. For example, in 2006 he won an appellate court victory upholding the First Amendment right of a topless protestor in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Walters has also been active in representing the interests of the online gambling industry. He represented GoldenPalace.com against the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the state’s efforts to seize the valuable domain based on alleged gambling violations. He also represents numerous Internet Cafes in constitutional challenges to local ordinances banning the use of simulated gambling devices.
In 2009, Walters began representing teens accused of sex offenses based on sexting behavior. His representation of Phillip Alpert, was covered on CNN, Nightline, MTV, the Today Show and The View. The media exposure given to this case, and similar prosecutions, helped fuel a change in many states’ laws relating to teen sexting. Walters eventually published a law review article on the issue entitled: How to Fix the Sexting Problem, in the University of North Carolina, School of Law, First Amendment Law Review.
Walters has filed Amicus Curiae briefs at the United States Supreme Court, on behalf of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, in two significant Free Speech cases; United States v. Stephens, dealing with depictions of animal cruelty, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. Both cases resulted in victories for the First Amendment.
Walters operates several websites, including the popular legal resource website; www.FirstAmendment.com, his blog; www.LawofSex.com, and www.GameCensorship.com; providing information regarding censorship efforts directed at video game content.
Early Life and Education
Walters grew up in Chicago, IL, and attended college at the University of Central Florida, where he graduated magna cum laude. He received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University, with honors. During law school, he studied English Common Law at Oxford University, interned with U.S. District Court Judge Maurice M. Paul, and received a fellowship in Policy Studies.
Community and Professional Involvement
Since 2009, Walters has served as a member of the Advisory Council of and General Counsel to the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, a group advocating for the right to sexual freedom and expression as fundamental human rights. He is a past president and national chairman of the First Amendment Lawyers Association (2009–11), and active in the International Masters of Gaming Law. In 2000, he created the First Amendment Law Committee of the Florida Bar. He is also a member of the University of Central Florida, Legal Studies Department Advisory Committee. In the past, Walters has served as Chair of the Legal Panel of the American Civil Liberties Union, Central Chapter, a Director of the Volusia County Bar Association, and a Director of the Deltona Area Chamber of Commerce.
- “Shooting the Messenger: An Analysis of Theories of Criminal Liability Used Against Adult-Themed Online Service Providers,” Stanford Law and Policy Review, Issue 1, Vol. 23 (2012).
- “Florida’s Internet Cafes: The Future of Gaming or a Vanishing Loophole,” Gaming Law Review and Economics, Vol. 15, No. 7/8 (2011)
- “Sweepstakes and Sunshine: A Review of Florida’s Game Promotion Statute,” Gaming Law Review and Economics, Vol. 15, No. 5 (2011)
- “How to Fix the Sexting Problem – An Analysis of the Legal and Policy Considerations for Sexting Legislation,” UNC School of Law, First Amendment Law Review (Fall 2010).
- “Investment or Conspiracy? Legal Concerns about Investing in the Online Gambling Industry,” Gaming Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 2 (April 2006)
- "Obscenity in the Digital Age: The Re-Evaluation of Community Standards," NEXUS, A Journal of Opinion, Vol. 10 (2005)
- “Advertising Online Casinos: An Analysis of the Legal Rights and Risks,” Gaming Law Review, Volume 7, Number 2 (April, 2003).
- Advertising Issues, Internet Gambling Report (2006–2012) [Book Chapter]
- [“Craigslist Case Implicates Important Legal Issues for User Generated Content Sites,” User Generated Content: Regulatory Dimensions, Amicus Books (2009).
- “Minors Should Not Be Required to Obtain Parental Consent for Violent Video Games,” America’s Youth, Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven Press (2008).
- Editor and contributor to: Law of Sex Blog, FirstAmendment.com, SweepsLaws.com, Adult Industry Update, and Gambling Law Update.
Lawrence Walters is admitted to the Florida Bar Association, the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, DC, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also been admitted pro hac vice in cases throughout the country.
-  Top vote recipients of 2006 win peer approval (2006-11-20) Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2006/11/20/focus2.html on (2013-12-10)
-  10.0 Superb rating from AVVO.com Retrieved from http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/32750-fl-lawrence-walters-1275150.html on (2013-12-10)
- Couple fights community standards in online porn case (2000-09-05) Retrieved from http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=3692&printerfriendly=1 on (2013-12-10)
- Couple fights community standards in online porn case (2000-09-05) Retrieved from http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=3692&printerfriendly=1 on (2014-01-03)
-  Pittsburgh City Paper (2007-05-10) Retrieved from http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/dirty-words/Content?oid=1338407 on (2013-12-10)
-  New York Times (2007-09-28) Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/28/us/28obscene.html?ex=1348718400&en=7dbb4d5def591585&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink on (2013-12-10)
- Defense Files New Petition in Ray Guhn Case (2007-11-21) Retrieved from http://www.xbiz.com/news/86802 on (2013-12-10)
- Citing Google, pornographer claims orgies are bigger than apple pie (2008-06-24) Retrieved from http://www.salon.com/2008/06/24/orgy_apple_pie/ on (2014-01-03)
- Obscenity trial? (2008-07-07) Retrieved from http://www.newstatesman.com/law-and-reform/2008/07/obscenity-community-google on (2014-01-03)
- The 'Naked' Truth! Protestor Wins Court Victory (2006-10-23) Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/10/24/naked-truth-protestor-wins-court-victory/ on (2014-01-02)
- Street performers, ACLU team up (2000-09-10) Retrieved from http://staugustine.com/stories/091000/new_20000910.001.shtml on (2014-01-02)
- Dancers rally vs. adult club bill (2003-06-23) Retrieved from http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/062603/met_12884880.shtml on (2014-01-02)
- Appeals court upholds woman's right to protest while topless (2006-10-12) Retrieved from http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20061012/BREAKING/61012026#gsc.tab=0 on (2014-01-03)
-  Judge Wingate's Decision on Internet Gambling Domains is All Symbolic Now (2012-03-08) Retrieved from http://www.osga.com/online_gaming_articles.php?Judge-Wingate-s-Decision-on-Internet-Gambling-Domains-is-All-Symbolic-Now-10277#.UqeAHBg1FIs on (2013-12-10)
- Internet cafes take a gamble (2012-08-01) Retrieved from http://www.seminolechronicle.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2012/08/01/501930b69c92a on (2014-01-03)
- Suit seeks halt to Hillsborough crackdown on Internet sweepstakes cafes (2011-12-11) Retrieved from http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/suit-seeks-halt-to-hillsborough-crackdown-on-internet-sweepstakes-cafes/1207175 on (2014-01-03)
- Internet cafés still running in Seminole despite ruling supporting ban (2012-04-12)Retrieved from http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-04/news/os-internet-cafe-ban-seminole-20120403_1_internet-caf-allied-veterans-cafes on (2014-01-03)
-  'Sexting' lands teen on sex offender list (2009-04-08) Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/07/sexting.busts/index.html?_s=PM:CRIME on (2013-12-10)
- Nightline discusses sexting laws with Attorney Lawrence Walters (2010-04-21) Retrieved from Youtube on (2013-12-10)
- MTV Asks (2010-03-09) Retrieved from Youtube on (2013-12-10)
- Lawrence Walters discusses Sexting Retrieved from http://www.firstamendment.com/sexting.html on (2013-12-10)
- Sexting Discussed on The View (2010-03-09) Retrieved from Youtube on (2013-12-10)
- Lawrence Walters Comments on Florida Sexting Law (2012-01-26) Retrieved from Youtube on (2013-12-10)
- Walters, Lawrence G. "Anatomy of an Obscenity Prosecution: The Tammy Robinson Case Study"
- The Associated Press. “Couple fights community standards in online porn case,” (Sept. 5, 2000).
- Boyer, Q. “Defense Files New Petition in Ray Guhn Case.” XBIZ.com. (Nov. 21, 2007)
- Kushner, David. “Casualty of Porn.” Rolling Stone. (Dec. 12, 2005).
- Lewis, Neil A. “A Prosecution Tests the Definition of Obscenity.” NYTimes.com. (Sept. 28, 2007).
- Willhoit, Dana. “War, Porn Web Site Creator Arrested.” TheLedger.com. (Oct. 8, 2005).