The state of Tennessee just passed a law that criminalizes free speech if an image posted online causes “emotional distress” to someone.
Randy of Patriot Action Network alerts us to a new law in Tennessee which makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it.
Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.
The ban on distressing images, which was sponsored by Democrat Rep. Charles Curtis and signed by Republican Gov. William Edward “Bill” Haslam last week, is an update to an existing law that already makes it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender “reasonably should know” would “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. If the communication lacks a “legitimate purpose,” the sender faces jail time.
The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But the “emotionally distressed” individual needs not be even be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you “should have known” that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you can face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
In a blog post, constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out just how broad the Tennessee legislation is. The law doesn’t require that the picture be of the “victim,” nor would the government need to prove that you intended the image to be distressing. Volokh points out that a wide variety of images, “pictures of Mohamed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group,” could “cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities,” triggering liability. He calls the bill “pretty clearly unconstitutional.”
This legislation must be overturned and fast.
Can you just see Muslim Brotherhood groups like CAIR, ISNA, and ICNA using this unConstitutional law to silence, intimidate, and punish critics of jihadists?
[Original source: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/06/new-tenness…]