A Californian court has ruled that online threats are not protected by free speech.
Citizen’s of the United States take great pride in the First Amendment which gives precedence to Freedom of Speech, however this does not include threatening behaviour.
This week a court in California allowed a case to proceed about posters (members of a website) to be charged with hate crimes and defamation.
A long standing case was brought against students and some members of staff after a boy, only identified as D.C., made a website about his band and playing a leading part in an unnamed feature film to promote his singing and acting career and suffered derogatory comments as well as threats on his life.
“Fellow students at his private high school, Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, posted derogatory comments on his site, mocking his perceived sexual orientation and making hostile statements that threatened him with bodily harm, such as “Faggot, I’m going to kill you,” and “I want to rip out your ******** heart and feed it to you.”
“The police ultimately determined that the postings did not meet the criteria for criminal prosecution and were protected speech.”
However the new court ruling disagrees and the case will now be proceeding to trial.
“That these words produce grotesque and exaggerated images does not lessen the gravity of the threat,” they write. “The threat in this case was not merely a few words shouted during a brawl; it was a series of grammatically correct sentences composed at a computer keyboard over a period of at least several minutes.”
More details of exactly what was posted on the site are available at the source of this news article.