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Free speech myths:
5 commonly believed myths about how US 1st Amendment speech law works

Myth 1: The Expressive Intent or Motive of the Protestor Is the Most Important Factor in Determining Whether His/Her Speech Can Constitutionally Be Prohibited

Myth 2: Laws Regulating the “Time, Place and Manner” of Speech in a Content-Neutral Way Are Unimportant or Are a Pretext for Speech Suppression, and Thus Do Not Really Need to Be Enforced

Myth 3: Expressive Conduct Is Treated No Differently Than Pure Speech Is

Myth 4: The Authorities Could, if They So Chose, Cut Protestors a Break When the Protestors Are Trying to Speak Out on Important Issues to Accomplish Just Results

Myth 5: Even if Rules Have to Be Enforced By Ordinary Governments, University Campuses Are Special Places Where More Expressive Conduct Should Be Permitted

Bolding mine.
John Hummel's profile photojames vilaichit's profile photoChad LaFarge's profile photoAnne-Marie Clark's profile photo
Well written. And the judgement I read sounded sane.
+M Monica And understanding the law will help people understand and evaluate for themselves the media's reporting of a protest or free speech news story.
Media does have a huge impact on how we perceive protests (witness 99% and Tea Party examples).

Here's another reason why location is very important:

This was passed on my birthday and I had no idea. It defines where-ever the President (or other Secret Service-protected person) is located as "Restricted Grounds" and allows the Secret Service to arrest people on felony charges as follows:

"b: knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions."

This is one for four enumerated offensives... the most relevant one, I'd say, as it describes a protester at any presidential or candidates' event. It's actually a clarification and "correction" of title 18, section 1752.

You can't blame this on any administration or ideology... they all voted for it.
The fear that I have is that it can be as sweeping as it can be interpreted by anyone to be. Even if charges don't "stick", it can surely shut down a protest and have a chilling affect on a crowd while people are being led away.

I bet you can count at least three administrations for whom their DHS you would not be happy to have define events as "Restricted Areas" for the purpose of disallowing protests. The nuance of the difference between acting "knowingly" vs "willfully" is an important one.
+Anne-Marie Clark Thanks, Anne-Marie. Thought provoking indeed. And, I'm pleased to say, not too surprising or counterintuitive.
+Chad LaFarge The bill doesn't do what you think it would. Also, the difference between "knowingly" and "willfully" is technical legal terminology for legal standards of proof required in court, which also has a technical definition. These are specific legal definitions, not common uses of the words.
Thanks +Anne-Marie Clark for the article. It doesn't appear to be a big deal. I'd say the media is fishing for a story. Even the ACLU isn't alarmed.

Protesters today have to go a step further these days because we see so many protests now we hardly take notice. I live in NYC and like clockwork some group is protesting something every day I think. On Monday it's support Palestine, and then on Tuesday it's support Israel.

+Chad LaFarge I don't even see it as a nuance just an elimination of redundant language in the law. Can you do something knowingly but not willfully? Or vice versa. I can't really think of an example.
+james vilaichit Yes, there is a legal difference in the two words. From a practical standpoint, via some statutes, it's harder for a prosecutor to prove a standard of "willful" conduct than to prove "knowing" conduct. Lawyers do care a lot that a statute says "knowing" instead of "willful, " or neither.
+Anne-Marie Clark I'm not going to argue the Law with a lawyer, but could you be so kind as to explain the difference? Perhaps an example?
+james vilaichit Point is, there is a picky thing in there for lawyers, but it's not a biggy for the rest of the world, and thus that bill isn't as big a deal as some articles say.

If you really want to wade into it, you could read this SCOTUS case (it's only a couple of paragraphs long, but you'll see how lawyers fuss over it), but really, it's a thing that lawyers worry about more than regular people do. A lot of the time, statutes use both words together and say "knowingly and willingly" and there they just mean the same thing. But lawyers have to carefully read and know each statute---and what a legislature meant---and not assume those words mean the same every time. Clear as mud, right? ;)
I'm really more interested in a chilling affect on the ground than the legal implications in the courtroom. It matters more that people are more likely to be arrested than that they aren't likely to be convicted. It's watching people being escorted out of an event that chills the message, not the odds of successful prosecution.

It's a practical matter, not a legal one.

I'll bow out... thank you for the discussion.
+Chad LaFarge That's another way to say what I was saying. There won't be much chilling effect, and not as much as some people in the media are claiming. There are bigger things to worry about about chilling freedom of speech.
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