Intimidating song lyrics

That understanding “took deep and early root in American soil” and Congress left it intact here: Under Section 875(c), “wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal.” There is no dispute that the mental state requirement in Section 875(c) is satisfied if the defendant transmits a communication for the purpose of issuing a threat, or with knowledge that the communication will be viewed as a threat....In response to a question at oral argument, Elonis stated that a finding of recklessness would not be sufficient....

intimidating song lyrics-37

We've seen this argument before (including in some of the links above).

This court hates to go out and actually address such questions, all too frequently saying simply "this rule is the wrong rule" and leaving a massive hurricane mess behind as everyone tries to guess at what the right rule might be.

The Government is at pains to characterize its position as something other than a negligence standard, emphasizing that its approach would require proof that a defendant“comprehended [the] contents and context” of the communication....

The Government gives two examples of individuals who, in its view, would lack this necessary mental state—a “foreigner, ignorant of the English language,” who would not know the meaning of the words at issue, or an individual mailing a sealed envelope without knowing its contents....

The Supreme Court thinks it's doing a good thing when it fails to actually address the big question, saying that it's waiting for an appropriate time to do so, but all it really does is keep a bunch of legal uncertainties going, allowing lawyers to rack up huge amounts of billable hours, on questions that the Court could have just settled the first time around. Here, the court basically rejects the use of the "reasonable person" test that was used in the original jury instructions (i.e., would a "reasonable person" find Elonis's statements to be "true threats," rather than whether Elonis himself intended them as such).

But, the Court notes, that's setting up a negligence standard that is rarely found in criminal law, and certainly not in the relevant statute for this case: Elonis’s conviction, however, was premised solely on how his posts would be understood by a reasonable person.and we “have long been reluctant to infer that a negligence standard was intended in criminal statutes,” ...Under these principles, “what [Elonis] thinks” does matter.I'm sure, in some sort of "Supreme Court Justice On High" logic this makes sense, but it leads to a dangerous world of uncertainty that seems to only be helpful for the lawyers.Justice Alito made this point in his own addition to the ruling (partial concurrence/partial dissent): Today, the Court announces: It is emphatically the prerogative of this Court to say only what the law is not.Last year, we wrote about a potentially important First Amendment case involving Anthony Elonis, who posted some fairly nasty things online, including some about his ex-wife that some certainly read to be threatening.

Tags: , ,