Friday, June 28, 2013

Jokes can get you arrested in airports and, now, online gaming chat rooms

If you've been through an airport in the last dozen years you've heard automated voices over the loudspeakers saying you might be arrested for joking about airport security. Apparently online gaming chat rooms have the same de facto strictures, they're just not posted. From KVUE-TV in Austin (June 24):
Justin Carter was 18 back in February when an online video game "League of Legends" took an ugly turn on Facebook.

Jack Carter says his son Justin and a friend got into an argument with someone on Facebook about the game and the teenager wrote a comment he now regrets.

“Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,’ to which he replied 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were lol and jk.," said Carter.

“LOL” stands for “laughing out loud," and “jk” means “just kidding," but police didn’t think it was funny. Neither did a woman from Canada who saw the posting.

Justin’s dad says the woman did a Google search and found his son’s old address was near an elementary school and she called police.

Justin Carter was arrested the next month and has been jailed since March 27. He’s charged with making a terroristic threat and is facing eight years in prison, according to his dad.

“These people are serious. They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made," added Carter.
Unless there's more hard evidence than was represented in KVUE's report, as Stephen A. Smith would say, this is asinine, asiten, aseleven ... I'm not sure which recent example of abuse of power is more troublesome - this episode or the woman arrested for asking to see a non-existent warrant when police wanted to arrest her 11-year old.

MORE: From NPR, which reports that the kid was beat up in jail. His lawyer hopes to get his bail lowered at a July 16 hearing.


Michael said...

Bond for Carter was set at $500,000.

We may have a new candidate for Worst DA on I 35. The competition is always fierce, though.

Anonymous said...

Let them take him to trial, and lose. The law clearly is being abused here just as it was in the case of a Houston-area teenager who the DA eventually decided didn't make a credible threat after all. The authorities in both cases are just seeking headlines and should be sued.

Michael said...

Easy to tell a 19 year old to sit in jail for 5 months wondering whether he's going to spend the next eight years in prison. But whom do they sue? The district attorney has absolute immunity for prosecuting a criminal charge, no matter how frivolous, idiotic, grandstanding, or petty it is. Don't like that? Me neither, and this case is why. Talk to SCOTUS. Start on the right.

Anonymous said...

Terroristic threat is so abused. The DAs posture with a weak case until they are convinced they can't bluff you into plea. If you are on bond, no big deal. This poor kid is being held effectively without bond in an attempt to leverage a plea. I have had two of these BS cases and I have a few friends who have defended some as well. All have been dismissed. Think maybe they are abusing this statute? I have not even seen one of these that should have been accepted at intake much less move forward to an indictment.