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The Elonis Case: Online Death Threats and Free Speech

25 Nov , 2014  | by:

On December 1st, the US Supreme Court will hear Elonis’ First Amendment challenge to his conviction. Elonis had spent three years in prison after posting death threats to his wife on Facebook. While “true threats” are an exception to the rule against criminalizing speech, Elonis argues his posts do not constitute “true threats” because he did not intend to hurt his wife: the aggressive lyrics he posted had a cathartic function for him. Emily Bazelon, senior research fellow at Yale Law School and well-known writer on the topic of online harassment, discusses what is at stake with this decision in her post on the New York Times Magazine.

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