Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Threats are not protected speech

Bryan Pfaffenberger has a post worth reading:

Have right-wing shock jocks violated the law by threatening antiwar protesters?
When challenged about the legality of such statements, right-wing columnists and editorial writers state that these statements are only made in "jest" or as "political satire," and that the persons making such statements are exercising their free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. But it's not so simple. Although the various states and US Circuit Courts use varying standards to judge whether a threat constitutes a "true threat," a threat that is not Constitutionally protected, the threat must be considered in its context -- and, as will be seen, there are solid grounds for arguing that some of these threatening statements are illegal.

Of course, local prosecutors have to be persuaded that this is the case too. But it may be time for antiwar organizers to visit such officials and sound them out.

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