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Old 09-14-2003, 09:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

In a conversation, some friends said that saying you want someone to kill a US president is against US law. Is this true?
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Old 09-14-2003, 09:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes.

There ARE limitations on speech.

"Hey, I'm gonna go shoot the ......" and yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater are two popular examples.

I'm not sure what are the specific court rulings that refer to these, but to answer your question: yes.
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Old 09-14-2003, 09:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There was a great sketch by The State on this very topic. That's all I remember.
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Old 09-15-2003, 01:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

Quote:
Originally posted by cowlick
In a conversation, some friends said that saying you want someone to kill a US president is against US law. Is this true?
If it wasn't before the PATRIOT Act it is now.

You should probably be more worried about Cheney becoming the leader rather than the legalities!
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Old 09-15-2003, 03:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Uhm, even if it were "legal" I'm sure the US would still find a way to prosecute your ass, so better safe than sorry lately in the US, eh?

I wouldn't run around saying this
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Old 09-15-2003, 04:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What if you said, " I sure would hate it if someone were to shoot the President" and then you winked?
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Old 09-15-2003, 04:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Then the Justice Department swoops in and secretly takes you to Dick Cheneys undisclosed location for an indefinate stay of detention.
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Old 09-15-2003, 04:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Y'know...even if it weren't illegal (which it is, by the way) you would have the government so far up your ass they could tell that you missed the back of your teeth, when you brushed this morning. Not something that you really want.

Besides, you've got to be pretty damn hardcore in your belief structure to want him dead. I mean, I want him out of the Oval Office as fast as possible. I personally believe that he is a danger to this country, and the rest of the world. But to actually want him killed? No, that goes against everything that I stand for.
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Old 09-15-2003, 05:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Even if it's not illegal, better watch who's listening when you say it. A guy in Chapel Hill was reading an article about Bush in the local indy paper and somebody saw him reading it, thought he looked too Arabic (he's actually Jewish) and a few days later the FBI showed up on his doorstep. Nothing came of it, of course, but it's still a little creepy. People are watching and listening and squealing to the Feds about it.

You can read the whole sordid tale here:
<a href="http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-07-30/cover.html">http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-07-30/cover.html</a>
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Old 09-15-2003, 07:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

Quote:
Originally posted by smooth
If it wasn't before the PATRIOT Act it is now.

You should probably be more worried about Cheney becoming the leader rather than the legalities!
To be honest, I don't think it's illegal; the Supreme Court decision (as in the "FIRE" in a crowded theater scenario) is supposed to limit free speech that would directly injure (or cause mass panic, leading to possible injury) another person. Wishing someone would kill the president probably wouldn't raise too many eyebrows over at the Secret Service, I have a feeling they're more concerned over direct threats to the president.

Just to set the record straight, the PATRIOT Act does not limit free speech. If it did, you can be sure that the ACLU would be all over it. Instead, the ACLU filed its lawsuit against (particularly), sections 213 and 215. 215 expands the federal government's power to inspect business records from stuff like to library books. Previously the government could only inspect a narrower range of things like hotel bills. 213 allows the federal government to inspect a citizen's home and delay notification. This does NOT allow the government to "sneak-and-peek" without a warrant. In both cases, 213 and 215, the government is required to get a judge's approval, a fact that the ACLU somehow missed. The ACLU (and know-nothings in the major media) are so clueless about the PATRIOT Act that they even object to section 216, which empowers the government to use the Internet (and check e-mail headers, but not content) with, again, a judge's approval. 216 merely updates it so the government can check a terrorist's "e-mail records," similar to how it can already check his/her phone records.

-- Alvin

EDIT: I discovered that the government only needs a court order (with judge approval) to "sneak-and-peek." A warrant is not needed. Legally speaking there's a difference, but the main point remains: the feds still need to go before a judge. My apologies for the error.

Last edited by rgr22j; 09-15-2003 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 09-15-2003, 08:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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From The United States Code (USC) TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 41 > Sec. 871.

Quote:

Sec. 871. - Threats against President and successors to the Presidency


(a)

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(b)

The terms ''President-elect'' and ''Vice President-elect'' as used in this section shall mean such persons as are the apparent successful candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, respectively, as ascertained from the results of the general elections held to determine the electors of President and Vice President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 1 and 2. The phrase ''other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President'' as used in this section shall mean the person next in the order of succession to act as President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 19 and 20
From US v Ogren

Quote:
United States v. Ogren, No. 00-0169 (Section 871(a) of Title 18, United States Code, prohibiting threatening the President of the United States, requires that the Government prove two essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the threat rendered was a "true" threat, and (2) that the threat was knowing and willful).

United States v. Ogren, No. 00-0169 (under Section 871(a) of Title 18, United States Code, prohibiting threatening the President of the United States, only “true threats” satisfy the statute’s threshold of criminal conduct and put the conduct beyond the protections of the First Amendment; whether a statement is a “true threat” is determined by (1) the context, (2) whether the threat is expressly conditional in nature, and (3) the reaction of the listeners).

United States v. Ogren, No. 00-0169 (under Section 871(a) of Title 18, United States Code, prohibiting threatening the President of the United States, the threat must be “knowing and willful”; whether a threat is knowing and willful is determined by an objective test requiring only that the defendant intentionally make a statement, written or oral, in a context or under such circumstances wherein a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of an intention to inflict bodily harm upon or to take the life of the President).

United States v. Ogren, No. 00-0169 (appellant’s threats against the President of the United States, made while appellant was in pretrial confinement, where legally sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find that appellant threatened the life of the President, in violation of 18 USC § 871(a), where: (1) the threats were “true threats” in that they were not conditional and the specific context as well as the reaction of the listeners set these words apart from appellant’s other expressions; and (2) the threats were knowing and willful because appellant should have reasonably foreseen that his threats would be understood to be more than a crude method of responding to his confinement).

So what while you may not be committing a crime by "wishing" that someone would assasinate the president, if the authorities catch wind of it, you WILL get a visit from the Secret Service investigating whether or not (1) the threat rendered was a "true" threat, and (2) that the threat was knowing and willful).

Remember, they don't know if you are kidding or not. Hence, they WILL investigate you.
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Old 09-15-2003, 08:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Remember, they don't know if you are kidding or not. Hence, they WILL investigate you.
I wonder how long it would take to investigate everyone in the world who wants Bush dead. Here in England they don't investigate people who wish politicians would drop dead, after all it's hard to investigate 99% of the population
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Old 09-15-2003, 08:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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There is a difference between wishing someone dead and telling people you wish someone dead.
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Old 09-15-2003, 11:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by lurkette
A guy in Chapel Hill was reading an article about Bush in the local indy paper and somebody saw him reading it, thought he looked too Arabic (he's actually Jewish) and a few days later the FBI showed up on his doorstep.
If this is true, and I have no reason to question that it isn't, ( I trust lurkette) then this goes <i>way</i> beyond scary.
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Old 09-15-2003, 11:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Re: Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

Quote:
Originally posted by rgr22j
To be honest, I don't think it's illegal...
Yeah it's illegal. It's called Communicating a Terroristic Threat. And it's not limited to the POTUS, either. If you threaten <i>anybody</i> with physical violence, this is what you will be charged with. And this was on the books <i>way</i> before 9-11, or the so called Patriot Act.
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Old 09-15-2003, 11:47 AM   #16 (permalink)
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A good general rule of thumb is this: "If it sounds like something that would be stupid to say, it probably is."
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Old 09-15-2003, 12:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bill O'Rights
Yeah it's illegal. It's called Communicating a Terroristic Threat. And it's not limited to the POTUS, either. If you threaten <i>anybody</i> with physical violence, this is what you will be charged with. And this was on the books <i>way</i> before 9-11, or the so called Patriot Act.
Could you point me to a reference? The only ones I can find (such as South Dakota SB19 and Massachusetts SB2122) are fairly recent (i.e. 2002). SB2122 in particular "establishes the crime of Communicating a Terroristic Threat."

Rather, I would think that if you threaten anybody, and it is deemed credible, then maybe it would fall under assault. And if you follow through, either battery or manslaughter/murder, those sorts of things. But, I am not a lawyer. However, on the basketball court I've threatened to kick someone's ass and been threatened to have my ass kicked, and so far nothing has come of it.

-- Alvin
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Old 09-15-2003, 04:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is voicing a desire for the president to be assasinated against the law?

Quote:
Originally posted by rgr22j
Could you point me to a reference? The only ones I can find (such as South Dakota SB19 and Massachusetts SB2122) are fairly recent (i.e. 2002). SB2122 in particular "establishes the crime of Communicating a Terroristic Threat."

Rather, I would think that if you threaten anybody, and it is deemed credible, then maybe it would fall under assault. And if you follow through, either battery or manslaughter/murder, those sorts of things. But, I am not a lawyer. However, on the basketball court I've threatened to kick someone's ass and been threatened to have my ass kicked, and so far nothing has come of it.

-- Alvin

I think Labell did a pretty good job of reference material. Overall its probably as smart as yelling bomb on an airplane; after all its a free country right?


I dont know how much truth is in the link below. There are many sites about it. If this technology is old I wonder what the upgrade have been. In anycase saying things can get you labeled as a terrorist these days.
http://www.iis.ee.ic.ac.uk/~frank/surp99/article1/fb97/
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Last edited by Sun Tzu; 09-15-2003 at 04:20 PM..
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Old 09-15-2003, 10:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So is it illegal to suggest it in manner or merely through mail?
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:05 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If you hate an elected official so much that you want somebody to kill him, I think you should probably find a hobby. Fast. Your hatred will tear you apart.
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:33 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Actually, it's been against the law probably long before any of us have even been alive.

A threat towards a person defined as assault.
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:10 AM   #22 (permalink)
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^Its not a threat, its making a wish....

You're not saying that you're going to do it, just that you would like to see it done by someone else.
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:00 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by UnlikedOne
^Its not a threat, its making a wish....

You're not saying that you're going to do it, just that you would like to see it done by someone else.
Wishing is for children. Learn to shoot and do it yourself, if you really think that it would change anything. To save you the effort, I'll tell you this -- nothing would change for the better. Whatever calibre of rifle that you used, would instantly be branded a "President-killer" and banned. Any legal gun owner who had it would be forced to turn them in to be destroyed, since there's "no reason for them to have such a powerful weapon." America would become even less free, just as planned.
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:23 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by seretogis
Wishing is for children. Learn to shoot and do it yourself, if you really think that it would change anything. To save you the effort, I'll tell you this -- nothing would change for the better. Whatever calibre of rifle that you used, would instantly be branded a "President-killer" and banned. Any legal gun owner who had it would be forced to turn them in to be destroyed, since there's "no reason for them to have such a powerful weapon." America would become even less free, just as planned.
People still trade, buy, and sell the Mannlicher-Carcano rifles, so there goes that paranoid theory.

I sometimes think that if someone is so paranoid they think their gun is going to be taken away by the federal government, then the federal government NEEDS TO TAKE THAT PERSON'S GUN AWAY. Because that guy is a little
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:06 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparhawk
People still trade, buy, and sell the Mannlicher-Carcano rifles, so there goes that paranoid theory.

I sometimes think that if someone is so paranoid they think their gun is going to be taken away by the federal government, then the federal government NEEDS TO TAKE THAT PERSON'S GUN AWAY. Because that guy is a little
heh, I'd laugh, but everytime I see it "snowing" ashes of Jews in the movie Schindler's List , I think of the organization, Jews for the Perservation of Firearm Ownership.
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