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Teenage League of Legends Player Jailed For Months For Facebook Joke 743

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-very-unwise-joke dept.
Kohath writes "Eighteen-year-old Justin Carter of Austin, Texas was arguing with a friend on Facebook about League of Legends back in February. After being called 'insane,' he responded with 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.' Below that, he wrote 'lol' and 'jk.' He was arrested March 27, 2013 and has been in jail since that time. A hearing to review his case is scheduled for July 1, 2013. His parents have launched a change.org petition to convince the authorities to release their son."
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Teenage League of Legends Player Jailed For Months For Facebook Joke

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  • his crime? (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday June 28, 2013 @11:29AM (#44133585) Journal
    In case anyone wonders what crime he could be accused of with those words, from the article: "Authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat. If convicted, he will face eight years in prison."

    I also found this bit from the article hilarious: "“Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper,” said [father] Jack Carter. “He didn’t watch television. He wasn’t aware of current events. These kids, they don’t realize what they’re doing. They don’t understand the implications. They don’t understand.”
  • Re:So much for... (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday June 28, 2013 @11:36AM (#44133739)

    Can we take them away just because he is a teenager?

    We have the drinking age and driving age totally backwards in this country.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @11:57AM (#44134107)

    You cited the wrong section. This [wikipedia.org] is what you should have cited: imminent lawless action. There are three parts of the test:
    intent, imminence, and likelihood.

    If you say "Jews should be killed", it doesn't imply imminence. If you say "Let's go put some Jews in gas chambers", it doesn't have likelihood. And if you say "It would be funny if y'all went and lynched a Jew" it wouldn't have intent.

    For the Facebook post, it didn't have likelihood or any real intent (it was a joke). The imminence of it could be argued. In any case, it fails the test and his speech is protected.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday June 28, 2013 @12:05PM (#44134247) Homepage Journal

    I have a cousin who spent ten years in prison for posession; not sure what drug or what amount, but considering your username I'd move to Colorado or Washington State if I were you (possession of small amounts is a civil offense with a small fine here in Springfield). Texas is the closest thing to Singapore the US has when it comes to laws.

    Seriously, you should stay out of Texas. Ever heard Uneasy Rider? [youtube.com]

  • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Friday June 28, 2013 @12:38PM (#44134741)

    For once I actually RTFA, because I couldn't think of a crime this kid could have been charged with. He is charged with "making a terroristic threat."

    Then I wondered what that means, feeling a bit surprised that this kid's actions could be interpreted as a terroristic threat (though, I think we can all agree that sometimes summaries on /. and descriptions in news can be innaccurate, which may very well be the case here), so I found this summary of the common elements of the crime of "making a terroristic threat":

    http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/making-a-terrorist-threat.html [legalmatch.com]

    Basically, my conclusion is that, yes, we should all be afraid--This is getting into "thought crime" territory.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:4, Informative)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday June 28, 2013 @12:42PM (#44134801)

    And when hindsight reveals that a killer had joked or made facebook posts or otherwise gave warning signs about the destruction to come, and police write it off as just some kid harmlessly blowing off steam, the public invariably crucifies them for failing to follow up on the warning signs.

    Educated people, such as doctors or statisticians, have a term for this: "low specificity". It basically means you can't take a single symptom as a reason to throw somebody in jail/prescibe a treatment until you also have other symptoms to back your hypothesis up.

  • by pupsocket (2853647) on Friday June 28, 2013 @01:50PM (#44135725)
    He wasn't making a threat in jest. He was making a joking interpretation of the word "insane", which had been wrongly applied to him. The point was to underscore the absurdity of the insult. And underscore it he did, with a bright highlighter across the entire state of Texas and the sadistic government operations that go under the banner of "law enforcement" there.

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