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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222302 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Speech: Inducement and the First Amendment
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:77  Issue:4  Dated:April 2008  Pages:23-32
Author(s): Martin J. King J.D.
Date Published: April 2008
Page Count: 10
Document: HTML
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the extent to which the first amendment permits preventative prosecution based on speech intended to persuade or induce others to engage in unlawful conduct.
Abstract: Preparation to commit a criminal act can itself be a criminal violation under conspiracy, attempt, or other provisions of Federal criminal law defining preparatory crimes. Among these, Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 373 comes closest to a general prohibition of incitement by making it a crime to solicit, command, induce, or otherwise endeavor to persuade another person to commit a crime of violence. Crimes that induce the commission of criminal activity may implicate free speech principles because they characteristically are committed by speech advocating, advising, or teaching, albeit with the intent of causing a specific criminal objective. Although courts vigilantly will ensure that prosecutions are not based improperly on the mere expression of unpopular ideas, if the evidence shows that speech crossed the line into criminal solicitation, procurement of criminal activity or conspiracy to violate the laws, then prosecution is permissible. The Supreme Court upheld that the government may not criminalize advocacy of the use of force or violence except where such advocacy is directed at inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to do so. Speech or expressive conduct that does not incite imminent action, but also does not amount to advocacy can be punished without violating the constitutional rights of the speaker when the speech exhibits an unambiguous and serious intention to commit or induce the commission of a violent crime. Such speech constitutes a step toward completed violence; speech is not protected by the first amendment when it is the very vehicle of the crime itself. 62 endnotes
Main Term(s): Freedom of speech; Prosecution; Prosecution model
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal intent; Criminal justice research; Criminal procedures; Criminalistics training; Legal research; Legal training
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