Cross-Burning Convictions Overturned
volokh at mail.law.ucla.edu
Mon Nov 5 12:45:44 PST 2001
I'm not sure I quite understand Leslie's argument. The Va. Sup. Ct.
concluded that a law that singles out cross-burning for intimidation is
unconstitutionally discriminatory per R.A.V.; the court also apparently
thought that "intimidation" may be broader than the permissible true threat
category, but the main focus was on the discrimination.
Leslie, you seem to be saying that a general law barring "written
threats to kill or commit bodily injury" is unconstitutional given R.A.V.
and the Va. Sup. Ct. decision -- how exactly would that argument go? I just
don't see anything in either case that would suggest such
Leslie Goldstein writes:
why does the crossburning decision not imply that these other statutes are
(in the minds of the VA court) now unconstitutional?
"Volokh, Eugene" wrote:
Interestingly, threats to kill or commit bodily injury are class
6 felonies, Va Stat 18.2-60 -- same as burning a cross with intent to
intimidate -- but only if they're in a "writing." Seems to me that burning
a cross on an unconsenting party's lawn is quite likely to be seen as a
threat to commit bodily injury; it's too bad that the writing requirement
would probably preclude such a prosecution.
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