Facebook "Threat" Case Proceeds

Judge declines to dismiss case against Carter

Justin Carter
Justin Carter

Last Friday, Aug. 29, in New Braunfels, Comal County, State District Judge Jack Rob­ison rejected attorney Donald Flanary's defense motions to dismiss the "terroristic threat" charges against Justin Carter, who was arrested and imprisoned for months in 2013 after posting a sarcastic Facebook post about shooting up a kindergarten. While the trial is scheduled for Oct. 27, Flanary told the Chronicle, "We will be pursuing a pre-trial appeal," and pre-trial dismissal.

Flanary is confident – as he's been all along – that Carter will prevail, even if the case does eventually go to a jury: "It doesn't make any sense to me that anyone would think what he did was a crime."

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the judge concurred with the prosecution, who said that a jury should decide whether or not Carter's comment, made during a Face­book argument over a computer game, counted as a terroristic threat, overstepping what is considered free speech.

Jennifer Carter, Justin's mom, is disappointed with the judge's action, but remains hopeful and supportive of Flanary. "I trust Donald, and I think he is doing an amazing job for Justin. I know he will use his best judgment on which way to go forward if the judge doesn't dismiss," she said.

The original comment in question, posted on Feb. 14, 2013 (in the wake of school shootings), occurred on Facebook during an argument about the computer game League of Legends. As is often the case with Internet trolls, another commenter suggested that Carter was crazy or dangerous, to which Carter responded sarcastically: "I'm fucked in the head alright, I think I'ma SHOOT UP A KINDERGARTEN [...] AND WATCH THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT RAIN DOWN [...] AND EAT THE BEATING HEART OF ONE OF THEM." While in jail, Carter sent the judge a handwritten letter in which he admitted to posting the comment, but added, "I wasn't trying to scare anyone, I was trying to be witty and sarcastic. I failed and I was arrested." During last week's hearing, Flanary tried to get this evidence, along with Carter's interview with police, suppressed because, according to Flanary, it was obtained after an illegal arrest.

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Justin Carter, First Amendment, Free speech, freedom of speech, true threats, Facebook, Jack Rob­ison, Donald Flanary, Jennifer Carter

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