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Old 06-11-2019, 12:13 PM
GreenHell is offline
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Hypothetical trouble with the Secret Service . . .

On Twitter: "Congratulations to John Hinckley on his parole. By the way, John. Jodie Foster still thinks you ain't shit!"

How much trouble would the hypothetical tweeter get in here? This seems fairly innocuous, but could be interpreted as inciting one to violence, given Hinckley's previous crimes and purported motives for the same. (BTW, "parole" for brevity; I'm aware it was release from psychiatric care)

If the Secret Service were to lock someone up for this, how might our current POTUS's previous incendiary statements play? "Tu quoque" or "what's good for the goose . . . "? The above could certainly be interpreted as an intentional, or at least recklessly potential (if not intended) incitement to violence. But, if one takes that tack, how then to defend many words from the prez?

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Old 06-11-2019, 01:03 PM
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It's up to the courts, if it gets that far.

In short, an incitement to violence also has to be likely, in the eyes of the court, to cause said violence, and soon. It can't just be an empty threat.

But if law enforcement feels threatened, you could be shot on the spot and/or coerced under interrogation. The odds are stacked against you, especially if you're poor or non-white, and public defenders won't try very hard to help you.

POTUS is an exception, because with a Republican majority in the Senate and SCOTUS, the POTUS is pretty much immune to prosecution and ethics. Also, executive immunity. It's a political theater thing, nothing to do with laws or justice. The president can say and do whatever he wants as long as he sufficient backing from a sufficient number of corrupt politicians, and he does. His actions and words already killed Heather Heyer, for one, and an untold number of migrants along the border.

Last edited by Reply; 06-11-2019 at 01:07 PM.
Old 06-11-2019, 07:34 PM
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A question about how the President's actions are likely to be viewed is pretty much inherently political. Therefore this thread belongs more in Great Debates than in General Questions. Moving.
Old 06-12-2019, 01:30 PM
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In order to be legally incitement to violence, the violence has to be specifically planned. So a general encouragement to a stranger to kill someone would not qualify.
Old 06-12-2019, 02:11 PM
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I have to admit shrugging about the possible effect on Trump while thinking it's a low-class way to reference Foster.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:57 PM
UltraVires is online now
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Originally Posted by Reply View Post
It's up to the courts, if it gets that far.

In short, an incitement to violence also has to be likely, in the eyes of the court, to cause said violence, and soon. It can't just be an empty threat.
Right. No court or prosecutor would believe that the above statement was a serious inducement or invitation for John Hinckley to harm the President.

It is a pretty low class type of statement, but IMHO nowhere near criminal.


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