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Extremist Speech Online. Introduction United States v. Alkhabaz Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists.

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Presentation on theme: "Extremist Speech Online. Introduction United States v. Alkhabaz Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Extremist Speech Online

2 Introduction United States v. Alkhabaz Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists

3 US v. Alkhabaz Between November ’94 and January ’95 Abraham Alkhabaz (aka Jake Baker) and Arthur Gonda exchanged s over the internet which expressed a sexual interest in violence against women and girls. Baker worked from Ann Arbor MI and Gonda from Ontario, Canada

4 US v. Alkhabaz 9 February 1995 arrested on criminal complaints alleging violations of 18 U.S.C.§ 875 (c) Prohibits interstate communication containing threats to kidnap or injure another person Prohibits interstate communication containing threats to kidnap or injure another person Complaint based on affidavit which cited language from a story involving Baker’s classmate

5 US v. Alkhabaz Text of story: “Her eyes, barely human, begged him to stop. He laughed aloud and gave her a firm smack. Her head jerked sideways with a snap. “Her eyes, barely human, begged him to stop. He laughed aloud and gave her a firm smack. Her head jerked sideways with a snap. "C'mon, man, let's go." My friend said. So we got the gasoline and spread it all over [FULL NAME OMITTED]'s apartment. We chucked it over her. It must have burned like hell when it came into contact with her open cuts, but I couldn't tell. Her face was already a mask of pain, and her body quivered fiiercely [sic]. "Goodbye, [FIRST NAME OMITTED]" I said, and lit a match...

6 US v. Alkhabaz District Court dismissed the indictment Government appealed claiming court erred in finding that the mail messages did not constitute a “true threat” Court of Appeals held that the indictment failed to allege violations of 875(c)

7 US v. Alkhabaz Government must prove three things under 875(c): Interstate transmission Interstate transmission Communication containing a threat Communication containing a threat Threat must be to injure or kidnap another Threat must be to injure or kidnap another

8 US v. Alkhabaz Even if a reasonable person would take the communications between Baker and Gonda as serious expressions of an intention to inflict bodily harm, no reasonable person would perceive such communications as being conveyed to effect some change or achieve some goal through intimidation.

9 Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists Only covering the online actions “Nuremberg Files” listed the names and address of doctors. Those already dead had a black line through their names. Those wounded were listed in gray and those still alive were listed in black. Doctors sued for damages and injunctive relief.

10 9 th Circuit held that the “Nuremburg Files” were “true threats” “True threats” as whether a reasonable person would foresee that that the statement would be interpreted by those whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of intent to harm or assault” Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists

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13 Final Notes Do the holdings of Alkhabaz and Planned Parenthood conflict? make sense? Do you agree with the verdicts? Do you agree with the verdicts? Problems with Hate Speech being online? Personal thoughts?


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