Legal Standard for “True Threats,” U.S. v. White (amicus)

William White, a white supremacist, was convicted by a jury in federal court of making threats against various people.  The judge set aside some, but not all, of the convictions on First Amendment grounds.  White argued, among other things, that he could not be convicted of making threats unless there was proof that he had intended his statements to be threatening.  The judge disagreed, holding that the government need only show that the statements would be understood as threatening by a reasonable listener.  White appealed.  On October 4, 2010, we filed an amicus brief arguing that the First Amendment prohibits punishment of threats unless the defendant intended his statements to be threatening.  Oral argument was heard on October 28, 2011.  On March 1, 2012, the court affirmed White's conviction by a 2-1 vote.

Court Documents (click link to view .pdf)
Brief Amicus Curiae- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

Date filed

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