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Appeals Court Reinstates Anthony Elonis’ Conviction For Threats On Facebook

Last year, this case caught much attention and I was informed by some victims of cyberharassment that law enforcement used the case decision as an excuse to not pursue charges for online threats.  Some internet trolls were happy with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, assuming it addressed free speech.  The decision did not.  Rather, it addressed the reasonable person standard in the jury’s instructions, finding that the standard should have been reckless disregard.

The Morning Call reports:

“A U.S. appeals court has reinstated the conviction of a Freemansburg man who made threatening comments against his estranged wife and others on Facebook but defended them on free speech grounds as rap lyrics.”

“The ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court said the jury in the 2011 trial of Anthony Elonis was erroneously instructed and should have weighed Elonis’ intent in making the posts and not just their content.”

“The high court said the fact that people who read the posts found them threatening wasn’t enough to support his conviction, and to get a guilty verdict, prosecutors had to prove that the messages were intended as threats.”

“But on Friday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said no jury could doubt Elonis knew the lyrics —which included talk of killing his estranged wife, shooting up a school and cutting an FBI agent’s throat — would intimidate his targets, despite appearing under an “entertainment only” disclaimer.”

“Based on our review of the record, we conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Elonis would have been convicted if the jury had been properly instructed. We therefore hold that the error was harmless, and uphold his conviction,” the court’s ruling said.”

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Lawsuit Filed Against Facebook For Text Messages

20150821155725-gifs-coming-facebook-posts-1So you had a cell phone, and a Facebook Page, and you agreed to receive text messages from Facebook.  Then, you exchanged, lost, or cancelled your cell phone account.  For whatever the reason, you now have a new cell phone number.   Your old phone number is assigned to someone else and guess what?  They are now receiving text messages from Facebook intended for you.

They new owner of the phone number wants Facebook to stop sending them text messages intended for you, but Facebook doesn’t stop.    The owner of the Facebook page has to confirm that they no longer want text messages sent to their old cell phone number. You’re not the owner of the Facebook page and cannot make changes to the Facebook account that belongs to someone else.

Last year, Facebook settled a case filed by a Florida woman who sued them for unwanted texts.  This time around, lawyers are seeking to certify a class. Read the rest of this entry

Cleveland Police Officer Under Investigation for Facebook Post Attacking Tamir Rice’s Mother

The Washington Post

tamir-riceMatthew Cicero, a five-year veteran of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, accused the mother of the slain 12-year-old of being motivated by money.

Matthew Cicero, who has worked as a Cleveland Metropolitan School District resource officer for five years, posted the comments several days after prosecutors declined to indict officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed Rice within seconds of encountering the 12-year-old at a public park in November 2014. Officers did not administer first aid to the boy, and he died the next day.

Cicero’s posts have been deleted along with his entire Facebook page, but were ABC-affiliate WEWS captured images. Cicero began his rant by blaming Samaria Rice of being a bad parent under an emoji that said “feeling annoyed,” according to screenshots posted by the station.

“Tamir rices momma just want money,” he wrote. “Lets make the proper changes……raise your kids not to play with fake guns stupid b**ch. All this media because the are notgetting what they want…… Again pleeeeze anyone who does not like what I post…..unfriendly me or block me your not worth my time”

Another Facebook user pushed back, asking Cicero when a 12-year-old playing with a toy gun became “a solid platform for the death penalty?”

“This officer regardless of race was negligent and should be brought to justice for negligent homicide,” a Facebook user named Wendy Smith said. Read the rest of this entry

Ferguson Police Department Officer, and State Representative are Two Behind Donation Site for Darren Wilson

LA Times reports that two GoFundMe pages were setup to receive money for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Darren Wilson was identified by the Ferguson Chief of Police as the officer who killed 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014.

The two separate pages were titled “Support Officer Darren Wilson” that raised $235,750, and “Support Officer Wilson” that raised $197,620.

Because of racially offensive remarks in the comment section of one of the pages, Gofundme removed them.

On Saturday, August 30, 2014, both donation pages stopped taking donations around the same time. The pages’ organizers did not explain why. Kelsea Little, a spokesperson for GoFundMe, stated that the pages were not shutdown by GoFundMe. A Facebook Page titled “Support Officer Wilson” posted that lawyers were working on a solution as to why the GoFundMe page was shut down. Thus, there is controversy about how and why the pages were taken down.  Read the rest of this entry

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