Violent Threats Over Facebook OK?; New Supreme Court ruling says so

Posted on 07-30-2015 by
Tags: social media , Trending News & Topics , Labor & Employment , Employment Law

The internet, an open forum for the masses. We can find countless comments; some inspire us and others raise the hairs on the back of our necks. Free speech on the internet was further defined recently after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of rapper Anthony Elonis, according to USA Today.

Elonis, a rapper, had rants posted online that struck fear in not only his co-workers, but his wife as well. The court ruled that language such as, Hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class" would only be criminal if it was meant as a threat, not if it was a result of negligence.

The question that Federal Courts are split and hung up on is this:

Whether threats must be intentional, or whether they are illegal just because a "reasonable person" -- such as those on the receiving end -- takes them seriously.

Elonis was sentenced under the second conditions and a majority of justices found that to be insufficient.

While this case gives more clarity to freedom of speech, it may raise concerns for others, especially those who have been affected by similar incidents.

To read full story go here.

So what do you think of the ruling? Let us know by posting your thoughts below.

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Posted on : 30 Jul 2015 4:30 PM

I believe in our constitutional rights as much as the next lawyer. That said,  what is wrong with revisiting and revising our foundations every couple centuries? Hate speech and threats intended to cause nothing but anguish without any purpose other than to serve a personal vendetta serve no good in society. "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . "

Tracie Morris
Tracie Morris
Posted on : 31 Jul 2015 2:34 AM

I just read an interesting summary on MoFo's Socially Aware Blog about a 9th Circuit Ct. opinion that affirmed the dismissal of a women's claim stating that a prosecutor's personal social and digital communications violated her First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances pursuant to §1983,

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