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First Amendment Hypothetical (LAW & ETHICS OF DIGITAL MEDIA) - Essay Example

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s Instructor Date First Amendment Hypothetical (Law & Ethics of Digital Media) There are a number of legal issues that are relevant in the case against Fred White and are bound to be dealt with in a trial. The first issue is the topic of free speech/freedom of expression and the boundaries that an individual has when exercising this right…
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First Amendment Hypothetical (LAW & ETHICS OF DIGITAL MEDIA)
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s First Amendment Hypothetical (Law & Ethics of Digital Media) There are a number of legal issues that are relevant in the case against Fred White and are bound to be dealt with in a trial. The first issue is the topic of free speech/freedom of expression and the boundaries that an individual has when exercising this right. This can be said to be the main issue that the courts will deal with as they try to determine whether Mr. White’s actions fall under free speech and the boundaries that have been set for it. Once in trial, the defense will no doubt attempt to argue that the accused was just practicing his right of freedom of expression and simply offering his opinion on a subject to those who would listen to him thus he has done no wrong (Rosen). On the other hand, the prosecution will attempt to prove that the actions of Mr. White went past his rights in the first amendment due to the nature of the information that he dealt with and therefore he should be punished in accordance to the law. The other legal issue that may be faced in this trial has to do with the matter of jurisdiction. This is to say that whether the prosecution can prove in what jurisdiction was the alleged crime truly committed and whether the accused can be prosecuted according to the laws of that jurisdiction. This is because the said crime was committed over the internet (also known as cyberspace) and thus one may argue that the traditional laws that hold individuals in physical locations should not be applied to those involved in cyberspace as technically they are two different jurisdictions (Lessig, Post & Volokh).. This is because the internet has the ability to connect people all over the world thus one cannot truly say what section of people are truly affected by information that has been posted on to the world wide web. Another legal issue that may be encountered during this trial is the issue of incitement. This will also be one of the charges that the prosecution will most likely try to accuse the defendant with on the grounds of his posts. The prosecution will try to prove that Mr. White did more than just offer his opinion on a subject but as a matter of fact, in the process of doing so was also attempting to incite the members of his audience into action by posting the type of material that he did on his blog. The issue of slander will also come up during the court case as the prosecution will no doubt state that by giving his opinion on the judge in question, he did it in a manner that painted the victim in an unfairly negative light (Lessig, Post & Volokh).. The prosecution may argue that the accused made the judge seem incapable of performing his job to a sufficient capacity and as a result unnecessarily dragging his name through the mud. Once the case goes to trial, it will be unlikely that Mr. White will be successful in defending his innocence by using the First Amendment rights in his argument. Though the first amendment offers it protection to people so that one is able to speak their mind without the fear of negative repercussions, there are also limits to the freedom of speech that is offered to a citizen. In a rough conclusion, the first amendment allows one to say what they want as long as their actions do not cause harm or risk doing so to another individual in the process (Lessig, Post & Volokh). In the case of Mr. White and the judge involved, this cannot be said to have been the case. This is because the blogger’s comments may have in actuality put the life of the judge at risk especially with phrases such as “this judge should be killed” and “the judge’s blood is a tiny price to pay to guarantee freedom for all.” Which seem as if the writer is not only condoning an act of violence on the judge should one happen, but is actually promoting it by calling it a “tiny price” and a guarantee for freedom to all. These words cannot be seen as the mere opinion of an individual but a move of incitement that may have put the judge’s life in danger. His argument based on the First amendment will also be foiled due to the addition of the extra material Mr. White posted on to his blog in addition to his rants about the judge. These included information on the judge such as maps of the judge’s home as well as of the courthouse at where he worked as well as a photograph of the judge himself. This material can be considered to be as a form of encouragement to his audience to fulfill the blogger’s comments on what the judge deserved. In conclusion, Mr. White would not be able to use the first amendment effectively in his defense as his comments could be considered as a true threat towards the judge. Works Cited Larry Lessig, David Post & Eugene Volokh. Government as Sovereign – Three levels Protection: Part 1. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 1999. Web. February 7, 2013. http://www.ics.uci.edu/%7Ekay/computer.law/cyberlawcourse/lessons/fresp04.html. Larry Lessig, David Post & Eugene Volokh. Annoying/Offensive/Harassing Speech, Part 1. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 1999. Web. February 7, 2013. http://www.ics.uci.edu/%7Ekay/computer.law/cyberlawcourse/lessons/fresp10.html. Larry Lessig, David Post & Eugene Volokh. Annoying/Offensive/Harassing Speech, Part 2. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 1999. Web. February 7, 2013. http://www.ics.uci.edu/%7Ekay/computer.law/cyberlawcourse/lessons/fresp11.html. Larry Lessig, David Post & Eugene Volokh. Annoying/Offensive/Harassing Speech, Part 4. Social Science Electronic Publishing, 1999. Web. February 7, 2013. http://www.ics.uci.edu/%7Ekay/computer.law/cyberlawcourse/lessons/fresp13.html. Jay Rosen (May 31st 2007). A Blog Is Just a Little First Ammendment Machine. Huffington Post. Web. February 7, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosen/a-blog-is-a-little-first-_b_50164.html. Read More
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