Skip to comments.Anti-DEA rants on Facebook spark criminal prosecution
Posted on 10/15/2012 11:54:55 AM PDT by Theoria
Federal judge OKs prosecution of man accused of posting anti-police rants on Facebook, saying that dismissing criminal charges on free speech grounds would be "inappropriate."
Anti-government rants on Facebook can land you in a heap of trouble.
A federal judge has given the green light to the U.S. Justice Department's prosecution of an Indiana man who allegedly posted incendiary remarks about police.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Lawrence in Indiana rejected requests by the defendant, Matthew Michael, to throw out the charges on the grounds that no specific Drug Enforcement Administration agent or other individual had actually been named in the posts.
Lawrence ruled that -- assuming the Facebook postings were illegal threats, which has yet to be proved -- they "were directed at natural persons, namely DEA agents, law enforcement officers, and government personnel."
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader on First Amendment grounds, ruling his vague promises of violence -- "there might have to be some revengeance taken" -- were not illegal.
Michael is accused of writing a series of posts in August 2011 (and creating a "statewide" Facebook event scheduled for November 2011) containing vague but angry and violent statements regarding DEA agents. One alleged post: "War is near..anarchy and justice will be sought...I'll kill whoever I deem to be in the way of harmony to the human race...BE WARNED IF U PULL ME OVER!!"
That's enough to allow the trial to proceed, Lawrence ruled in a written opinion saying:
The First Amendment does not insulate all speech from criminal consequence. Certain categories of speech having little or no social value are not protected, and threats are one such category.... It would be inappropriate for the court to enter a verdict of not guilty based solely on the face of the indictment unless the court could imagine no facts that would render Michael's posts unprotected. That is not the situation here.
Michael is facing three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.
Never gripe about the cops, they are just the enforcers, gripe about the politicians instead they are the true enemies of freedom.
Do NOT challenge nor speak ill of you betters.
Learn your place and pay your taxes.
This whole case needs to be bounced hard.
Failing that, "pitchforks and torches"...
Or do we really need to slide down this slippery slope any further before putting the brakes on?
You said the same about Hitler's stormtroopers?
Never gripe about the cops? Over the past couple decades they have gotten more and more out of hand. Not the same folks I remember as a child. As government has gotten more reckless, so has its armed enforcers. As our culture has gotten coarser and less civilized not sure how you think those who want to deal with the lowest levels of society have somehow remained genteel.
Don’t worry... There will be a few folks reading this thread who are thinking those exact thoughts.
It’s what happens when you abandon principles for Party.
He wasn't conducting "interstate commerce," but then misinterpretation of the Commerce Clause is the feral government's skeleton key that opens any door it wants to open, so why should they stop now?
Obama has turned America into a communist dictatorship.
Seriously ? !
< facepalm >
I can gripe about anything I want to . That’s called freedom of speech.
“Never gripe about the cops, they are just the enforcer”
Sorry, but I don’t think the Nazi camps would have been effective if the guards had not been there. The guards made the orders happen and deserved the punishments befitting of their crimes.
***Certain categories of speech having little or no social value are not protected,...***
Just who determines what has ‘social value’? Some Czar?
I understand there’s limits, but this is about as slippery a slope as you can get.
May your chains rest lightly upon you.
For all you Sartre fans [I’m not one of them]:
“We were never so free as during the German Occupation.”
Oh yeah, almost forgot: The Bureau of A##h###s Trans#####tes F#g##s and Emos can KMA as can the DEA, TSA, and all of the wrong house, no-knock, dog shooters.
Oh, please. A 'threat' is not an action. Without an action, no one was harmed. Without harm, there can be no cause for action.
What we have is not only a violation of free speech, it's presumption of guilt prior to legal fact....
basically, their prosecuting him for what he might do.
I agree with George Carlin, lefty that he was. There is no so-called “Bill of Rights”. There is only a “Bill of Privileges” that can be rescinded whenever Big Brother decides to rescind them.