An interesting case recently came up in Massachusetts in which the criminal charges brought against an 18-year-old aspiring rapper have been found to violate his First Amendment rights. While the case didn't take place here in Alabama, the implications are pretty far-reaching. With the government and law enforcement increasingly coming down hard on the side of security from terrorism versus citizens' civil rights, here is one case in which citizens -- in the form of a grand jury -- decided otherwise.
Shortly after the Boston bombing, the young man composed some rap lyrics and posted them on Facebook: "[expletive] a boston bombinb [sic] wait til u see the shit I do, I'ma be famous for rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me."
After concerned fellow students notified the police, the 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats -- and not of the misdemeanor variety more familiar in Alabama. The terroristic threats he was accused of making were charged as a felony because the police believed he was threatening to hijack a car or build a bomb. Those criminal charges could have sent him to prison for 20 years.