Ugly And Threatening Rhetoric Aimed At Connecticut’s Judiciary: When Is Enough Enough? – Authorities, Public Sector
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Recently, I was the target of an anti-Semitic blog attack that uses vile and threatening language and suggests that I was a victim of Zyklon B, the poison gas used by the Nazis to kill over a million people in the Holocaust. It’s not the first time I’ve been attacked or threatened and I’m certainly not alone. The blog has launched anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racist tirades against other judges (Judges Robinson, Bozzuto, Adelman, Albis, Murphy Bright, Emons, Coleman, Ficeto, Richards, Pincus, Moukawsher, Grossman, Heller, Nguyen, Olear, Platt, Pressley, Solomon, Carroll, and others), GALs (Steven Dembo and Jocelyn Hurwitz), therapists (Sidney Horowitz), and countless other attorneys simply for doing their respective jobs. I’m in good company. But if I was upset about simply being criticized, then I should never have held a public defender, judge, magistrate, commissioner, or any other public role.
But the blog in question goes beyond the freedom of speech and constitutional protections we all enjoy and cherish. At the risk of fueling this madness, I’ll refer to a few quotes from the last year or so when the blog called for violence against many of us who have played roles and taken positions that the author disapproves. In response to my recent statement on Ct. Law Tribune on domestic violence, the blog states in part:
“Children are precious, they need protection from the domestic terrorism of Jewish family court judges, the Second Amendment has a purpose, parental discretion chooses the caliber of the shot that rings freedom. Jewish judges are a real threat to children. Fight domestic terrorist evil as per Jewette’s orders, protect the children, shoot a judge and a lawyer and a GAL and a therapist… a few clerks and the big ‘N*****’ in the black robes, the wanker has off to the sounds of children screaming.”
In more recent times, the blog has provided home addresses of judges, encouraging its readers to pull up on a case and “honk your horn long and loud” and shoot at someone else’s house or, if “you’re flying in your F35 jet, drop off a couple smart bombs.” Another colleague, the blog warns that if the judge “doesn’t protect the kids, she’ll die too! Have lots of long guns and .308 bullets to fend off her flying monkeys! Shotgun in one arm , AR15 inside the other, death to our so-called justice system! If vigilante justice is required, enter [her] the mountain justice she deserves. . . If the courts do not protect, then it is up to the people to ensure justice! New ammo is made every day! Vigilante Justice!”
I could cite many more examples, but suffice it to say that the blog has gone from vile, disgusting anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-Black rants to actual threats of violence and death. Hate speech and other offensive language are protected under the First Amendment, which allows groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, and QAnon to incite hatred against otherwise protected groups. However, there are some limits to “freedom of speech”. And while I know it’s not always easy to draw the line between a real threat and a statement that’s just plain alarming because of its violent and offensive language, I’m confident that the threats on the blog cross the line and are dangerous .
We have all seen the role of threats and the violent nature and vulnerability of individuals that led to the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. There were those who were committed, but there were also those who were encouraging. There were those who rioted, those who organized the event themselves, and those who heard the call. Many have already been charged with conspiracy in connection with the uprising, and investigations continue into those who may not have been physically involved in the violence but who were in contact with or instigated it.
We are indeed living with a tide of political and ideological threats of violence in the United States, a tide that goes much further than the January 6 attack on the Capitol. As Attorney General Garland recently noted in his observations marking the first anniversary of this attack: The increasing violence and criminal threats of violence “against election officials and workers, flight crews, school staff, journalists, local elected officials, US Senators and Representatives; and judges, prosecutors, and police officers.” And as Garland warned, “The time to deal with threats is when they are made, not after the tragedy has struck.” We are indeed living with a rise in violence and unlawful Threats of violence against those of us who serve the public This increasing use of threats and violence is intended absolutely to keep us from doing our jobs and to foment a growing lawlessness that leaves us all vulnerable.
We all value freedom of expression, but our right to freedom of expression is not absolute. The Government has the power to prevent or penalize speech which presents a clear and present danger of riot or other imminent threat to public security, peace or order. This is because such utterances are not protected by the First Amendment as long as the utterances are likely to have that effect. While there is no clear, consistent definition of what constitutes a real threat, and we know that it should be more than a political exaggeration or metaphor, a joke or an impulsive angry comment, I believe the threats on the blog are absolutely meant to incite threat of violence against us, if not by the speaker then by a third party.
Also, it doesn’t matter if the threatener has no intention of carrying out the threat, because suppressing genuine threats protects the victims from the threat
fear of violence and actual violence. See Virginia v. Black (acts of intimidation such as burning a cross can be real threats if they are designed to make certain individuals or groups of individuals fear for their lives). Well, I don’t think we’re just talking about fear; These blogs express an advocacy aimed at inciting or evoking imminent lawless acts that I believe are likely to both instigate and eventually evoke such acts one day. This is a time I hope I’m wrong.
Originally published by the Connecticut Law Tribune
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