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First Amendment Protects Neo-Nazi’s Blog Post, Judge Rules

By Sonia Scherr on July 23, 2009 - 10:22 am, Posted in Neo-Nazi

A federal judge was unequivocal in his ruling that the government has no case against the neo-Nazi leader it accused of encouraging violence against a jury foreman.

In a decision that will likely influence similar cases, the judge ruled that the free speech protections of the First Amendment allowed Bill White to post the foreman’s personal information on his blog. The foreman had served on the federal jury that in 2004 convicted white supremacist Matt Hale of seeking the murder of a federal judge.

White, 32, heads the American National Socialist Workers Party, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a neo-Nazi hate group. He had been scheduled for trial in Chicago next month, but U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman this week dismissed the indictment charging White with soliciting harm against the juror. White still faces other federal charges in Virginia in connection with threats he allegedly made against other people.

“The posting of personal information about an individual involved in a judicial proceeding, even under circumstances that are intimidating or unsettling, cannot, absent a true threat or an incitement to imminent lawless action, be criminalized consistent with the First Amendment,” wrote Adelman in the 35-page decision.

White posted the birth date, address and phone numbers of the “gay anti-racist juror” and wrote that the juror “played a key role in convicting Matt Hale.” But Adelman noted that White in his posts never directly calls for violence against the juror. He also asserted that the First Amendment protects “scrutiny and criticism” of people involved in legal cases, including the publication of personal information.

“The decision is not surprising,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “But I don’t think that White is out of the woods yet. He’s posted a number of other things that probably go over the First Amendment line.”

In making their case against White, the government had alleged that he knew his website was frequented by white supremacists who sometimes harm people they view as traitors to the white race. But the fact that his audience included (potentially dangerous) white supremacists isn’t enough to conclude that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, Adelman said. “Knowledge or belief that one’s speech, even speech advocating law breaking, may cause others to act does not remove the speech from the protection of the First Amendment, unless the speech is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to produce such action,” he wrote.

The government also contended that, months before White wrote about the jury foreman, he posted personal information about other people he hoped would be harmed. But again, Adelman found that those posts don’t make his writings about the juror unlawful; in fact, they appeared to have no connection to the juror.

(Although not mentioned in Adelman’s decision, Dr. James Corcoran, a psychiatrist for the defense, testified at a detention hearing in December that he did not believe White was a danger to the community. However, he said he thought White suffered from a personality disorder. He said White exhibited “histrionic and narcissistic” behaviors such as his “excessive need of approval from other people” and “pervasive pattern or need for grandiosity.”)

Adelman discussed several past court decisions that support the right to reveal personal information, “even under threatening or intimidating circumstances.” Among them was a Supreme Court ruling that organizers of a boycott of white-owned businesses in Claiborne County, Miss., could not be held liable for publicizing the names of those who did not take part. Even making generalized threats against the non-participants was protected, so long as they didn’t lead to criminal action, the court ruled. “The fact that I might regard as noble the struggle of Mississippi blacks for equal treatment, and defendant’s views as reprehensible, is irrelevant to the constitutional analysis,” Adelman wrote. “Nevertheless, there is irony in the fact that defendant’s right to spread a message of white supremacy has, in large part, been secured by the efforts of African-Americans to obtain civil rights.”

  • Vivi

    It is a very good thing that we have the Bill of Rights. It allows all sides to spew their hatred in words, not in deeds.
    I’m sure it’s kept many a nutter (on both sides of the political spectrum) from turning to violence.

  • KCarson

    Judge Lynn Adelman is a self-loathing Jew appointed by Clinton whose rulings have stunned the whole world. Adelman’s father was a Zionist Jew, and Lynn Adelman himself has the “rodent-like” face common to Jews. Adelman is a dangerous judge who feels he is above the law. He has exonerated child pornographers and other criminals. Adelman is pro-criminal in many of his rulings. This is one judge who should be removed from the bench, as soon as legally possible.

  • http://sony-ericssontickets.com/ tennis tickets 2010 Expert

    At least the United States Constitution has First Ammendment. Not many countries can say that about their legal system.

  • A.C.

    What about our right to privacy? What about the right to not have your personal information posted online without your consent?

  • Roland

    Freedom of speech is protected and I’m glad.

    People just have to distinguish “Freedom of Speech” from “Freedom of Stupidity” or “Freedom of Stupid Speech”.

  • Snorlax

    I remember a case that went the other way. It involved an anti-abortion website posting doctors’ names and advocating they be murdered. (So much for “right to life”).

    IIRC, the website actually DID lead to a doctor getting murdered.

    In that case, the judge DID order the website taken down, and you can’t even find it with Wayback Machine.

  • dmx

    The first ammendment is both a blessing of protection and a leaden weight around the feet.

    It really needs to be focused a bit better so vicious redwatch type nonsense can be adequately dealt with.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Wow.
    A former disgraced low level “committeeman” for the Mesa Repugnant Party is showing off his 3rd(excuse me I meant turd) grade infantile rants.
    That’s a typical embeciled J.T. Ready.
    A turd reicher from Mesa. And speaking of Mesa, didn’t his “hero” the septaugenarian ape Sheriff Joe Arpaio called Mesa a sanctuary city for illegals?

    Sorry Ready, as morbidly obese as you already are, you can barely move around. You simply cannot even walk a half a block down the street to 7-11 and pick up your daily dose of cheetos, twinkies and boodlight beer in a 100 degree heat. You would already be dead after just 2 minutes of trying. No need to worry about you.
    An imminent heart attack will do just fine.

  • http://www.newsaxon.org/viking_son JT Ready

    Go ahead and publish my home address. When you zionist scum or your MS-13 inspired thugs show up to harm me, I will plant a full magazine of blazing hot AR-15 rounds in your face. Now that’s Free Speech backed up by the teeth of the 2nd Amendment!

  • GENO

    Dr. Jacques,

    If you are the confessed leader of the New American National Socialist Party. I hope that what you are implying is legitimately true and that you do not welcome Bill White back into your folds. You’re bringing in the FBI with you when you do so. Just so you know, through such guilts by association, but that probably doesn’t matter, sinc Bill White will be monitored wherever he goes. Bill White, incarcerated or not, needs to be a ghost.
    Maybe Ron Paul is also dirty, due to his past association with Bill White during Paul’s campaign measures.

  • Dr. Jacques Anthony Pluss

    As Leader of The New American National Socialist Party, which advocates National Socialism in the new context of the twenty-first century, I firmly cast my “vote” against the decision of Judge Adelman. And, certainly, it is “telling” that even Dr. Corcoran, a psychiatrist working for the defense, found White what I will call “deeply troubled.” White is a dinosaur who has done much harm even to the causes he claims to espouse. Yet, he will soon be a very “small potato” who will be mired in the woe of further legal struggles, financial misery, and, in the not too distant future, he will be a “crash and burn” memory. Hopefully, his incarceration will continue as well. Thank you for posting my comments.

  • Ryan the non-Aryan

    Liesl,

    It would be a fantasy if Arpaio was convicted on anything, let alone Human Rights violations. He was under DOJ investigation way back in 1995, but that investigation foiled because he had the backing and support of then Attorney General Janet Napolitano, both sides did not win. Instead, Arpaio had to follow DOJ’s recommended changes in the way he operated his jails(depite the fact that there were several unexplained deaths in his jails). The DOJ isn’t gonna do anything other than make recomendations, which basically means hoot, (nothing). Techniically Arpaio will get away with murder, as he always does. Remember that the Amnesty International condemned Arpaio jails. Including a host of Human Rights orgs and local and national media outlets(including New York Times and New Yorker).
    What explains Arpaio’s endless tyranny is based on the fact that Arizona(especially Nazicopa County the epicenter of evil) is heavily Republfoolish controlled. 99% of the districts is run by the Republicans. The sickening part is that the current DHS honcho–Manet Napolitano endorsed Arpaio for his 4th term. If you actually believe Manet is a Democrat, then you are ill-informed. She isn’t a Dem by its own standards, not even by its principles. She is what you would call an “in-closet GOP[per]“. Her very political strategies are reminiscent to that of a Republifool. So ironically Barack Obama has been had(as in duped). And I doubt he’ll do anything about Arpaio. Not with Manet as our DHS, she’s Arpaio’s strongest political ally.

  • http://www.clottedcognition.com Liesl

    Gregory: Excellent point about the chilling effect on jurors. I hadn’t thought of that.

    Ryan: It is astonishing to me that Arpaio is elected, time and again. How is it legal for his tent prisons to exist in the first place? It makes absolutely no sense. Let’s hope he is finally tried for human rights abuses, at the very least.

  • Ryan the non-Aryan

    “To you prefer dictatorship where that won’t happen?”

    Dictatorship is already evident in the U.S. Have you ever heard of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
    He’s one good example of a wing-ding tyrant abusing his power. Which is why he is under investigation by the FBI and the DOJ. Hope that septuagenarian nut gets indicted. Obama’s cracking down on corruption as shown in N.J. yesterday. We are waiting for Obama to do the same on Arpaio.

  • beholder

    gregory I totally agree with you but the instrument to stop it should be a civil suit by the injured party, not government restrictions on free speech.

  • beholder

    liesel, motive isn’t enough in a legal sense. in a psychological sense most people sublimate violent thoughts all day long. a human baby, if 240 pounds, would be one dangerous creature.

  • beholder

    That’s one of the perils of freedom, Ty. To you prefer dictatorship where that won’t happen?

  • Gregory

    I think White’s secondary objective is to intimidate future jurors, if this decision is upheld. Who is going to want to serve on a jury if that gives any random scumbag the right to publish personal information about you on the web?

  • GENO

    I’m not too worried about mr. Bill Whitey getting out of prison(where he normally belongs). But rather due to the fact, that he’s got a pile of legal bills to loath of. Especially in this economic doom&gloom, he won’t be able to set up another website immediately. He’ll be on probation and constantly monitored. Technically, you can say he’d be helpless and might have to rely on government assistance. That’s my guess, since the guy is still facing other charges, so I don’t see any “good news” coming out of it.

  • http://www.clottedcognition.com Liesl

    There’s no such thing as absolutely free speech. I think this ruling is unfortunate. There is a huge difference in being able to shout ideology from the rooftops and crossing the line in attempting to harm someone else. It’s a bit cagey to say that violence wasn’t specifically called for; what other motivation is there?

  • TY

    I am glad that in this country there is still some freedom of speech but unfortunatly many many many times when a certain person who has a following does say something negative about a certain individual and or other individuals it does bring about violence. I mean look at say… Farrahkan, when he spoke out about and against Malcolm X Malcolm was gunned down shot dead soon afterwards. Many Many Many attribute this to what Farrahkan had voiced about him. When you look at who stood to gain from Malcolms death and who lives in the Manshion now. It does point to the possibilities that when a body voices something in the many ways one can communicate to those listening. It can lead to others following through with action on their behalf and or due to their words and wants.

  • daemonesslisa

    I said it in a previous post, and I’ll say it again…

    Well, I certainly hope the free-speech absolutists are happy.

    A dangerous neo-nazi may now continue to post the home addresses of his perceived enemies so they can (and will) be targeted–and possibly killed–by rabid fellow neo-nazis. People’s lives may now be put in danger. But, my god, NEVER take away the rights of neo-nazis! Because that’s just wrong, isn’t it!

    Unbelievable!!

    (Still, it could be far worse…Billy Boy could be backed by major corporations like Perverted Justice is for doing the same s**t!)

  • beholder

    As much as it turns my stomach to say so I have to agree with this ruling. We cannot start deciding to protect freedom of speech based on whether or not we like what the guy is saying.

    That said, I tend to think there is a big civil suit waiting to happen and I hope Bill White will be sued into penury, or that his site is shut down with an injunction as a personal tort if that is possible.

  • Ryan the non-Aryan

    Ok, so contrary to the Judge’s ruling. So its okay if a Jew or a non-White promotes violence or the end of prominent white supremacists by including their home addresses, place of employment, phone #’s etc. The Jew or a non-White promoting such violence through their websites, upon white supremacist leaders, is protected by the First Amendment according to this Judge’s ruling. So in hindsight, such calls for the deaths of known white supremacists is okay, just as long as the person who calls for the end of white power doesn’t engage in the violence himself. Because as the judge ruled above, its protected speech.

    So in other words, its either way, if white supremacists who calls for violence then so should his enemies. It cannot simply be applied to one race for the First Amendment doesn’t favor either races.