Us Vs Elonis

Decent Essays

The freedom of speech is a part of the bill of rights-obviously important enough to be one of the first things mentioned. Just as it was important in 1771, our freedoms are well established today in 2015. Here in the age of technology, the internet is where the crime takes place and all could be victims. The founding fathers didn’t write the bill of rights concerned with our Facebook rants and who they can be directed to. So finding a solution to fit a 1771 document in today’s problems can be difficult.
Case Details
The case of Elonis vs. United States is about a man claiming to exercise his freedom of speech by threatening his wife, coworkers, and elementary schools in the form of rap lyrics posted on social media. Most saw …show more content…

This is the first time that the justices have considered limitations on social media speech. He claims that he should not have been convicted because he didn’t make a true threat. Elonis claims that he would never hurt his wife, but talking about her negatively was “therapeutic” for him (NYtimes).

The Supreme Court accepted this case because it addresses a common problem today. With technology today, anyone can be threatened online. And making a solution for now may prevent any further cases like this from entering the supreme court. The supreme court can settle the problem before another similar case makes it’s way into the supreme court.
Key Question(s)
But, what amounts to a true threat? According to Justice Breyer, a true threat ­­is a threat that a “reasonable person” would understand to be a serious expression to hurt or harm (APC). Another question to be addressed is whether or not social media is within the freedom of speech rights. Take a case in St. Cloud, Minnesota, an employee complained about her workplace on social media and was fired for it. There are protections in the law for employees to talk about things of public concern or the conditions of the workplace, but only sometimes. Now the supreme court asks if a conviction of threatening someone under 18 U. S. C. §875 (c) requires proof of the defendant's subjective intent to threaten. This was the case for Virginia v. Black in 2003, the “reasonable person” test …show more content…

This option, suggested by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. won with a 7-2 majority. This decision defined by the court that threats made by Elonis had to be proven to be threats. A former decision said if a “reasonable” person found them threatening than they were. A second decision said that the reasonable person standard is not adequate in separating right from wrong. Elonis was charged with 5 counts of 18 U. S. C. §875 (c), extortion and threats.
It was decided that he should be convicted on the basis that a “reasonable” person would be disturbed (Kerr). By June of 2015, SCOTUS changed his conviction to an option written by the chief justice and a dissenting opinion written by Clarence Thomas. He says 9/11 circuit courts had already discussed a similar issue. Justice Thomas also argued that knowledge of posting the relevant threats is enough to establish the intent element because knowledge of those facts is required to make the actions illegal (Oyez). Elonis’s case changed, then, simply because no one could prove that the threats were actually intended to harm. If the court had proof of malicious intent, then it is possible that Elonis’s conviction would not have been

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