The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Federal Judge Throws Out Neo-Nazi Bill White’s Conviction

By Heidi Beirich on April 20, 2011 - 4:11 pm, Posted in Neo-Nazi, Trial Updates

A federal judge ruled today that a jury was wrong when it convicted neo-Nazi Bill White for using his website to promote violence. CBS Chicago is reporting that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has ruled White was within his rights when he published information about a juror on his website in 2008.

In January, White was convicted of one count of solicitation for publishing the personal information of the jury foreman in the trial that convicted another neo-Nazi, Matthew Hale, of soliciting the murder of a federal judge. White, who once led the neo-Nazi group American National Socialist Workers Party, has been in prison nearly continuously since 2008.

CBS Chicago reports that Judge Adelman’s decision finds that “the government failed to present sufficient evidence” that White’s website posts intended to solicit harm to the juror. “I further find the posts protected by the First Amendment,” Adelman concluded.

This ruling clears the way for White to leave his Chicago prison.

  • Door_Gunner

    Maybe this will make future Jurors take “being a Juror” a little more seriously from here on out.

    I’ve served as a juror before… I was not impressed at how careless some of the other Juror’s where about the case.

    Would I want my name published after a trial that convicted someone like Al Capon..? Ha ha ha… probably not.

  • CalperniaUSA

    I really hope this is appealed. The juror’s right to privacy needs to be protected. Shame on that judge.

  • Pickwick

    Who the heck will agree to serve as a juror from now on? I’ve served many times over the years, but I have to say that the next time I’m called, I’m going to express my unwillingness and cite this judge’s decision. Two of the trials I’ve served on have been a gang-related murder and a federal civil rights suit. I would not have felt comfortable on either jury if I had not known that my identity was protected. Shame on this judge!

  • Lewis Loflin

    Free speech is not hate, not even when it’s committed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • Jonas Rand

    I do not believe in a literalist interpretation of the Constitution or its amendments, as some judges and legal scholars do. However, the first amendment should be interpreted in a literalist way, for if it is not, a precedent could be created for the government to erode our basic civil liberties away.

  • Sam Molloy

    I’m sure the original Nazis did tricks like this, without the internet, but I thought we have laws about publishing juror’s names and decisions. It’s nearly impossible to police the internet so I’d say juries have to be incognito except to court officials.

  • Jordan

    This is an interesting scenario, especially since this case involves two constitutional rights going head-to-head. Both privacy and security in one’s person and effects, as well as free speech are gauranteed by the constitution. Normally, Judges rule against free speech (since privacy and security can, as in this case, be a life or death matter), but this ruling appears to compromise the justice system (how can a jury or a judge for that matter be expected to come up with a guilty verdict if any convicted criminal can just call for their deaths at the hands of other criminals).

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING ON THIS WEBB SITE IS THE EXACT SAME THING THAT GUY DID. ARE YOU GUILTY OF A CRIME? WHAT FRAI FOR YOU IS FAIR FOR HIM.”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, bow in awe at this stunning example of Aryan superiority!!! I am totally convinced by this argument. Good show, sir.

  • Paul

    This is the second judge in as many weeks that has ruled in favor of a nazi at the expenses of law abiding citizens. NO RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE! To understand nazis (in part) is to understand this:

    “The publishing of the juror’s person information by bill white was to hopefully excite one of the nazi lunatics to murder this person…PERIOD!” No other understanding is possible without denouncing your own intelligence in the process including that of the judge’s Sad! :-(

  • http://earleydaysyet.Tumblr.com EarleyDaysYet

    @buz – um, no, it’s not.

    “Dear Fellow People Who Think The Judge Deserved It & Our Guy Shouldn’t Have Gone To Jail: here’s the name & contact information of one of the people who put our friend in prison. Just FYI. Not SAYING you should do anything with it, but – y’know – just in case.”

    =/=

    “Dear Other People Interested In Civil Rights & Legal Stuff: here’s a legal thing that happened in court recently to someone who’s publicly and voluntarily associated himself with a neo-Nazi group, and its possible legal implications.”

    Not the same. No innocents being threatened here.

  • Brian

    Addledman has cleared the way for anyone to post White’s personal info online, and I hope that happens very soon.
    I’d love to see White’s media filled with hundreds of hostile messages every day for the rest of his hopefully very short life.

  • Andre Zitouniadis

    Hate in action, in speech, to intimate others, to hurt others or to urge others into actions, inferred or otherwise is not free speech. Europe, in this sense is ahead of the US. they have laws to protect others from hate, intimidation, by words, either spoken or written, is a infringement of a person’s right to peace of mind from such things, otherwise how else do you stop bullying? And also I believe that most ISP’s terms of service preclude, people from harassing, cyber-stalking, cyber bullying, intimidation, threats to a person’s free enjoyment of life liberty and justice.

  • John

    Wow…this judge made the wrong decision. If it was a judge/ police officer / or politician there would have been a different ruling for sure. There needs to be more safeguards in place for those who serve on jurys. I am now more reluctant to serve.

  • buz thompsom

    WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING ON THIS WEBB SITE IS THE EXACT SAME THING THAT GUY DID. ARE YOU GUILTY OF A CRIME? WHAT FRAI FOR YOU IS FAIR FOR HIM.

  • http://pccpasadena.edu Linda Walsh

    Quite frankly, this decision seems to be a bad one, but let’s remember that these guys appear to have the best in legal representation. How is this possible; is it because of right wing foundations that they are plugged back into that have so much money at hand? I don’t know, but I understand some of these have a virtually tax fee status or indeed a tax free status!! I am, however, aware that those of the radical right especially the religious right are becoming extremely bold! One young man boasted to me he could label somone as gay and not be liable to law suit under the protection of religious freedom of the First Amendment . I told him I was in the middle as are most ordinary citizens. He, then, went on to threaten that I had to join either the [extreme] right or left political side of the spectrum or it would be too late for me. I think I remember that he mentioned there would be some action as a coup or something against the Federal Government, but I was so stunned that I do not recall exactly what he said after that ! I replied that I wouldn’t join either side no matter what. Leaving jurors unprotected as in this decision is a really bad idea with thugs like these around!

  • Ian

    Is the contact information of jury members public (at least in Illinois)?

  • Paul

    Would the decision have been the same if it was the judge’s personal info that got posted on the website?
    Somehow I doubt it.

  • MAXIMILLIAN GUTIERREZ

    With Decisions such as these-Let’s Hope this ‘Judge Adelman’ hasn’t affirmed ‘His-own’ death warrant…This sets up a very precarious and Dangerous avenue for Supremacists to find a way out of any Irresponsible Hate Act…

  • jenwren

    Surely our reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can be both rigorous and nuanced. Like the lone dissenting Supreme Court comment in the case of antigay protesters fomenting hate at military funerals. We are intelligent enough to find ways to permit free speech without endangering jurors (and judges) or ruining a family’s quiet burial of a son or daughter lost during service to us all.

  • Froggy

    There needs to be some protection from intimidation…….if a judges name was put up on a website, that thug would still be in prison………..think about it…………..

  • Barbara Nicholson

    Who will feel safe being a juror if the criminal can put you up on his web.site as a target. Not Me it needs to be reversed.