Supreme Court rules on videos of animal cruelty 23 replies

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Dragonelf68

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24th September 2007

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#1 8 years ago

They made it fucking legal.

The Supreme Court struck down on free-speech grounds Tuesday a federal law that makes it a crime to sell videos or photos of animals being illegally killed or tortured. In a 8-1 ruling, the justices overturned the conviction of a Virginia man who sold dog-fighting videos. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., speaking for the court, said the First Amendment does not allow the government to criminalize whole categories of speech and expression that are deemed undesirable. Roberts also said the law was too broad and could allow prosecutions for selling photos of out-of-season hunting, for example. Only Justice Samuel Alito dissented. Congress passed the law a decade ago to halt the practice of selling videos that depicted tiny animals being crushed to death. It had been rarely used, however, and came under challenge when prosecutors used it against the dog-fighting industry. This is the high court's second controversial free-speech ruling this year. In January, the court struck down the laws that prohibited corporations from spending money on election races.

United States v. Stevens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stevens' attorney, Washington lawyer Patricia Millett, has written: “The notion that Congress can suddenly strip a broad swath of never-before-regulated speech of First Amendment protection and send its creators to federal prison, based on nothing more than an ad hoc balancing of the 'expressive value' of the speech against its 'societal costs' is entirely alien to constitutional jurisprudence and a dangerous threat to liberty."

How the hell is this a threat to liberty? Please tell me I'm not the only one baffled and pissed off at this.


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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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26th May 2003

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#2 8 years ago

Laws and the interpretations thereof tend to be based on precedent. If you lay down the precedent that you can just weigh - purely subjectively - the expressive value of a speech against its societal costs you run the risk of reducing what people are allowed to say to just the judge's opinion.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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22nd March 2005

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#3 8 years ago

Free speech is free speech. I'm glad they ruled this way, but still think there's other stuff that can be done about the videos. Prosecuting the fuck out of the people who make the videos on animal cruelty charges, for one.




RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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28th July 2002

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#4 8 years ago

So I can post a video of me kicking a puppy and it's all fine and dandy but if said puppy is injured by a car and I shoot it (to put it out of it's misery) and bury it in the woods I get fined and go to jail.


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jackripped

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2nd December 2009

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#5 8 years ago

Slack, a law that protects scumbags that are basicly mega cruel.Got nothing to do with free speech. Another dark day for US justice, nothing new......




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#6 8 years ago
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.;5306740So I can post a video of me kicking a puppy and it's all fine and dandy

Posting the video is fine and dandy. Kicking the puppy isn't.

but if said puppy is injured by a car and I shoot it (to put it out of it's misery) and bury it in the woods I get fined and go to jail.

Really? Who the fuck would prosecute someone for putting a dog out of its misery?




RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#7 8 years ago
Crazy Wolf;5306760Posting the video is fine and dandy. Kicking the puppy isn't.Really? Who the fuck would prosecute someone for putting a dog out of its misery?

It's happened around here. Got him for not taking the dog to the "proper" place (AKA the vet where you can pay to have the dog "humanly" put to sleep) and then for improper disposal of a corpse (AKA he didn't pay the vet even more money to have the dog cremated or some shit)


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Joe Bonham

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10th December 2005

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#8 8 years ago

At least this is a step in the right direction.




Metall_pingwin

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26th May 2005

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#9 8 years ago

I'm not baffled and pissed off.

You're taking this on a far too literal level. To put it simply: Although specifically posting videos of tortured animals doesn't post a direct threat to liberty - the precedent this decision will set - might.

It's a cost/benefit decision. The benefit of making these things illegal is almost nonexistent. As far as I know there is no industry around animal cruelty, and if there is - it's minuscule enough. People who do it are pretty fucked up, they're not businessmen or regular Joes. It might be insanity, it might be curiosity or it might be a fetish -whatever the reason they're already underground and they're already going against every social standard of Western culture, so what is one more?

These laws are passed more on moral principle, than tangible betterment of society.

On the contrary, this law was broad and vague. It was a broad, vague law regarding censorship. Something people get very touchy about, and the Supreme Court tries to limit the amount of censorship done as much as possible. While this law itself is harmless, the precedent it will set is not. And in twenty years time there is no knowing what other censorship laws might be spawned from this. The potential threat of this precedent is much higher than the benefit.




NiteStryker

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24th April 2003

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#10 8 years ago

So they are not striking the law down in this case, they are looking at the bigger applications of this law, and striking it down for the bigger applications.