This past week the United States Supreme Court ruled, on First Amendment grounds, that to prosecute someone for what is indisputably a ‘true threat’ of violence, the government must show that the defendant has some level of subjective understanding that the statement(s) made was threatening. The case essentially involved unwanted and unsolicited contact between a songwriter and a follower who sent hundreds of direct messages on Facebook that many construed to be harassment and/or stalking behavior. See Counterman v. Colorado. The question, apparently, was whether subjectively, not objectively, the follower knew that the messages he sent were threatening in nature. In short, the high court found that due to our First Amendment rights, the lower court needed to inquire into the mindset of the follower. The question to ponder is: does such a requirement infringe on another’s privacy rights – the right to be free from threats whether the person making the ‘threat’ subjectively knew it could be construed as such? Apparently, at least on some level, the Supreme Court doesn’t care, as it has deemed that our First Amendment rights trump other important rights like privacy in certain instances.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.