A criminal defense lawyer’s perspective.
If you are facing charges because of a post you’ve allegedly posted to social media, you need the help of an experienced internet crimes defense attorney.
First Amendment Defined
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to assemble peaceably, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances by the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the United States Federal government. It was adopted on December 15, 1791. How is Facebook subject to free speech rights in the First Amendment?
US Supreme Court to Hear Important Case Involving Free Speech and Facebook
Freedom of speech does have limits, even on Facebook. As an example, you are not allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded movie house. Facebook has added a new area of concern relative to freedom of speech issues that the courts have started to address. On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Elonis v United States. During a contentious divorce case, Mr. Elonis resorted to Facebook to express his frustrations and anxiety over the divorce and his life in general. The posts on Facebook had to do with Mr. Elonis musing about killing his ex-wife and others. There were also posts of rap music lyrics on the topic of killing. Mr. Elonis insisted he meant no harm by these posts. He was charged under federal law for the electronic transmission of a threat across state lines and served almost 4 years in federal prison.
The issue before the United States Supreme Court is, “[w]hether, consistent with the First Amendment and Virginia v Black, a conviction for threatening another person under requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten, as required by the 9th Circuit and the supreme courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont’ or whether it is enough to show that a “reasonable person” would regard the statement as threatening, as held by other federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort.” The Defendant asserts that a “reasonable person” standard is incorrect because of the high potential for misinterpretation in social media by people that do not know the defendant. It is argued that the standard should be “subjective intent” – has was merely expressing his frustration and not to threaten.
The decision, in this case, will have far-reaching implications for free speech on Facebook and generally in our social media-focused world. Stay tuned!!
Defenders of Free Speech – Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you, or someone you know, are facing criminal charges, we know how to employ all of the protections contained in the United States Constitution. If you want to have the best defense against a felony or misdemeanor charge, it is crucial that you contact an attorney who is an expert in constitutional law. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of criminal and constitutional law experience. You need an expert to help you when your freedom is in jeopardy.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.