Man Claims Law Against Hanging Nooses Violates The First Amendment

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A racist Virginia man said he should be allowed to hang nooses in his front yard to intimidate his neighbors because it's private property.

Close-up of protester holding "Racism Is Not Patriotism" sign

A Virginia man insists that he should be allowed to hang a noose in his yard to intimidate people.

According to The Root, Jack Turner is trying to get his conviction overturned for violating a state law that prohibits hanging a noose "in a manner having a direct tendency to place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury."

Back in 2015, Turner hung an effigy of a black man hanging from a tree outside his home because he was upset with his black neighbors. As a result of the racist stunt, he was hit with criminal charges for breaking the law, which has been in place since 2009.

While Turner does not deny his actions and has shown no remorse for them, he does argue that the noose law shouldn't apply to him because he hung it on his own private property. Additionally, he says that being punished for hanging the offensive symbol is a violation of his First Amendment rights.

However, Assistant Attorney General Christopher P. Schandevel — who is representing the state — argues that Turner's actions are deemed a true threat, which is not protected under the First Amendment. 

While Virginia's Supreme Court reviewed and questioned both sides of Turner's appeal on Wednesday, their decision whether or not to uphold Turner's conviction has not been made.

This goes without saying, but Turner is clearly delusional. Violent threats are not protected under the First Amendment, and while he may maintain the right to be racist if he wants to, that doesn't make him above the law. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Fraser Mummery

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