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WORLD HOT SPOTS => Media Watch => Topic started by: News on July 21, 2011, 05:44:06 PM

Title: Court Rules Threat To Kill Obama Was Freedom Of Speech
Post by: News on July 21, 2011, 05:44:06 PM
Court overturns convictions for threatening Obama

A Southern California man who urged readers of an online message board to "shoot the n-" two weeks before the 2008 presidential election, and said Barack Obama "will have a 50 cal in the head soon," was protected by freedom of speech, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned Walter Bagdasarian's two felony convictions for threatening to kill a presidential candidate and said his advocacy of violence, though "alarming and dangerous," was not illegal.

The online posting "conveys no explicit or implicit threat on the part of Bagdasarian that he himself will kill or injure Obama," said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the majority opinion. The law, he said, "does not criminalize predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president," or a candidate.

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Court Rules Threat To Kill Obama Was Freedom Of Speech

The 9th circuit Federal Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a man who posted Internet messages threatening President Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Walter Bagdasarian was convicted in 2009 of two felony counts of threatening a major presidential candidate. Bagdasarian posted several messages to a Yahoo Finance message board, including one that called Obama a racial epithet and another that said “he will have a 50 cal in the head soon”–a reference to a .50 caliber gun.

Your Black World Reports:

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that violent and racist creeds against Obama were “repugnant” but not criminal. The court also said it was obvious the San Diego man wasn’t planning to attack the candidate and that the postings were protected by Bagdasarian’s free speech rights.

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