The Instigator
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
WillRiley
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Anthony Elonis Should be found in Violation of the 1st Amendment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
WillRiley
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 960 times Debate No: 67010
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

TheJuniorVarsityNovice

Pro

In the recent supreme court case Elonis v. United States Elonis is claiming that his first amendment rights were violated because he was sentenced to 44 months for threatening an FBI agent and his wife on facebook as well as threatening to shoot up an elementary school.

Here is the link to the case brief if you are interested in general or in debating me over this resolution: http://www.newyorker.com...

I will stand on the position that Anthony's speech should not be protected by the legal system.

Negative will stand and argue that Anthony Elonis should definitely be protected under the first amendment.

Either Neg can make opening arguments when they accept the round, or I can after acceptance, you decide.

We should follow normal debate rules and keep the round civil.

Any Challengers?
WillRiley

Con

I accept this debate. I hope this will be a productive and civil exchange. I will not be making arguments during this round, I will simply be defining two key words and showing the First Ammendment.
The First Ammedment-
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." [1]

Definitions-

I trust you will find no objection with the following definitions.

abridge verb

: to shorten (a book, a play, etc.) by leaving out some parts

: to lessen the strength or effect of (something, such as a right) [2]

speech noun

: the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words [3]

Back to you Pro.


[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu...

[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...;

[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Debate Round No. 1
TheJuniorVarsityNovice

Pro

Purpose of a Supreme Court ruling in this case:
To lean toward the verdict which will preserve the core values of the constitution. To protect those which may be threatened from harm or death by another party. To protect: those who exercise their right to speech, those who may make outlandish and exaggerated statements.

The two methods of evaluating a comment which may be a threat:
1.(Current) Objective intent- Would a reasonable person, with knowledge of the context of the situation, believe that a comment was a threatening or cause the average reasonable person to be frightened.

2.(Supposed) Subjective intent- Evaluates a comment or supposed threat based on the intent of the speaker

Brief Background: Anthony Elonis was convicted of issuing a death threat to a federal officer and his ex-wife. The events leading up to this begin after Anthony Elonis and his wife went through a very rough patch in their relationship. It got so bad
Terrified, his then wife filed a restraining order and the police which had already been investigating the case gave it to the FBI under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the constitution, which gives power to the federal government for regulation of intrastate commerce, this includes threats as authorized by the following law:
18 U.S. Code " 875. Section C states that "[w]hoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
The FBI sent a female officer and her partner to visit Anthony Elonis in order to question him about his posts on facebook. Following the visit Anthony decided to post these 3 comments on his facebook wall:

These threats to federal officer were taken as such and Anthony was sentenced to 44 months in prison. He appealed and his case is now awaiting verdict of the Supreme Court. In this round I will contend that Anthony Elonis should not be protected under these threats as well as the standard definition used evaluate threats. I believe that any reasonable person would feel threatened by these comments, especially since he was bold enough to post those comments regarding federal officers. So in essence not only is he dumb for threatening officers, but his is truly guilty of making a death threat and death threats are not protected under the 1st amendment.

Argument 1: Danger and protection

If the Supreme Court allows Anthony Elonis-like speech to be protected, they then accept the standard of Subjective Intent which means that the courts evaluate if a statement is a threat based on whether or not the comment was intended to be a threat by the poster. Using this evaluation this method would mean that prosecutors in similar cases would be forced to prove what the poster was thinking and what he intended when he posted it. How exactly does one prove what another was thinking at a certain time? The answer is that you really can"t, using this method would protect people who make death threats and provide a legal loophole in which they would hide thus leading to very little guilty charges for those people who make legitimate death threats, and what happens when one can"t detain a criminal who intends to hurt another? Lives become in danger and people die".
The opposition to this ruling claims that ruling in favor of objective intent leads to the arrest of young people and people in general who may say in the moment and passion filled statements over the internet which one doesn"t really mean; thus it would mean the conviction of people who are actually innocent. However this is untrue, a reasonable person counts as one who know ALL of the context details, thus if a person is brought to court for scaring someone, they can simply state those context details and will be convicted of no crime.
Beyond that, let"s say someone has posted a Very very mean and vile string of comments to another and it is hard to understand or believe the true context details provided by them even though they really didn"t mean what they said. In this case, I think that they deserve to be sentenced, they were being negligent and shot off their mouth without thinking. Example, you drive your car in the perfectly legal manner down a road in your community, you are doing nothing wrong, hands at 10 and 2, mirror adjusted, seatbelt on"ect, just then a child runs in front of your vehicle and you kill him or her. You are going to jail, despite what your intentions were or whether or not it was your real fault, the law will put you away for what you "commited". You have been "negligent". And that is the charge which should be given to those who state Extremely scary frightening comments. One cannot yell FIRE in a movie theater for a reason, and if one does, it does not matter what the intent of the speaker was, it is illegal.
WillRiley

Con

Your Resolution
"Anthony Elonis Should be found in Violation of the 1st Amendment"
Definitions

I am going to provide one more definition, which I trust you will agree with.
Violation
: the act of doing something that is not allowed by a law or rule [1]
Arguments
Unless Anthony Elonis is a member of congress, and created a law violating the constitution, it is impossable to find him in violation of the 1st Amendment.
Back to you Pro.

Debate Round No. 2
TheJuniorVarsityNovice

Pro

My opponent makes an invalid claim that in order to find Elonis in violation of the 1st amendment he must be a member of congress. He has appealed his case where he was convicted of threatening a federal agent and his wife. The supreme court ruling has not been declared so, we are debating whether or not it should be in favor of the previous ruling (in violation of the first), or whether the law should use subjective intent and over rule the previous verdict (this ruling would indicate he is Not in violation of the first and therefore his sentence previously was wrong). The negative opponent has failed to create any arguments against my case and if he intends not to then he forfeits the round and looses automatically, pease extend all of my arguments, they still apply to this speech and any other that will be made during the remainder of this session.

Back to you Neg...
WillRiley

Con

Conclution
During the course of this debate, I have proven that Anthony Elonis did not violate the 1st Amendment. Obviously, to be violating the 1st Amendment would we to break the rules set out within it. Elonis did not make a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. If he would have, Pro would have one. However, he has not, and therefore, I urge you to vote Con.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WillRiley 2 years ago
WillRiley
Oh, just so you know, its Con, not neg.
Posted by WillRiley 2 years ago
WillRiley
Sure, sounds like fun.
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
Oh, I see what you did there. Clever clever. rematch?
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
despite what you may think, the title clear states the resolution: Anthony Elonis Should be found in Violation of the 1st Amendment.....You purposely straw-man fallacy the round or perhaps you just have a hard time reading.
Anthony Elonis plead he wasn't guilty of threatening because His First Amendment Rights protect him. He said they protect him because he was rapping and not threatening. Just in case this isnt clear for some reason, the high courts have ruled and made it clear that 'true threats are not protected by the first amendment'. That is why he was sentenced to 44 months.
He appealed to the Supreme Court to over rule this verdict (which said he wasn't protected because it was a true threat) and Thus when I said, Anthony Elonis should not be protected under the first amendment, that means that the Supreme Court should rule against his favor thus confirming that he is not protected...as my resolution states. I'm sorry if you couldn't understand this, but hopefully it is abundantly clear at this point, as to why you have forfeited this round...
Posted by WillRiley 2 years ago
WillRiley
If you would like to rephrase the title, I would gladly debate whether Anthony Elonis should be protected under the first amendment. (I believe that this was your intention in the first place.)
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
Actually, this was the last round, no new arguments can be made, Neg forfeits
Posted by WillRiley 2 years ago
WillRiley
I forgot to include my source for my definition-
[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
After "It got so bad" insert:

that she divorced him, took the kids and left. Furious Anthony posted the following on his facebook page:

"There's one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts. Hurry up and die b****"

After, "these 3 comments on his wall", insert:

"Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?"

The next day:

"That"s it, I"ve had about enough, I"m checking out and making a name for myself. Enough elementary schools in a ten mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined. And hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a. kindergarten class. The only question is " which one?"

Finally:

"You know your s***"s ridiculous when you have the FBI knockin" at yo door. Little Agent Lady stood so close. Took all the strength I had not to turn the b**** ghost. Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat. Leave her bleedin" from her jugular in the arms of her partner"
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
TheJuniorVarsityNovice
I apologize, I have been busy with finals so I had to reply last minute, literally I replied with about 20 seconds on the clock. I had my arguement ready to post at 2 minutes however I found out that there is absolutely no profanity allowed in an argument so I had to rush to delete a few of the quotes which I'll repost with blanks in the comments section. Because I had to delete these quotes, the beginning may seem fragmented but i'm sure the readers can piece together what it was meant to say. Thank you much..
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Mister_Man
I think the same can go for the second amendment. If you're walking around with an ak47 on your back and a cop pulls you over.... f*cking cooperate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Mister_Man
TheJuniorVarsityNoviceWillRileyTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Although Elonis obviously isn't fit to interact with the rest of society, he didn't violate the first amendment. I personally don't think we should be following the amendments anymore anyway, but I guess that's irrelevant, and I like the short, easy work WillRiley made of this. I also like his new debating style, good on him for doing well in the debate and making it quick and easy. Although he loses a conduct point because I want to cut my friggin eyes out whenever I see someone say "vote for me."
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
TheJuniorVarsityNoviceWillRileyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro should be more careful when crafting a debate resolution. Negated.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
TheJuniorVarsityNoviceWillRileyTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used more sources. Con wins the debate overall as he goes through the debate he pulls up arguments that some would concider bellow par, but the fact that he didn't make such a law he is not in violation of the 1st Amendment. Interesting read all around.
Vote Placed by Lee001 2 years ago
Lee001
TheJuniorVarsityNoviceWillRileyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very close debate. Con made more convincing in the end!