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Va. man's threat case back to court

A federal appeals court has ruled that a lower court should not have dismissed a charge that an avowed Virginia white supremacist used his website to urge others to harm a juror.

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said Monday that William White's website post falls outside the protection of the First Amendment.

White's website — overthrow.com — regularly attacked nonwhites, Jews and homosexuals and expressed approval for acts of violence. The 33-year-old Roanoke, Va., man was the self-styled leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

White is now serving time in federal prison in Beckley, W.Va., for using his website, e-mail and telephone to harass strangers. His website has been shut down. A phone message left by The Associated Press for White's attorney was not immediately returned.

In 2008, White published the name, photograph, home address and phone number of a juror on his site in an entry entitled “The Juror Who Convicted Matt Hale.” The juror had been foreman of a jury that convicted another white supremacist, Matthew Hale, of soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

White had earlier written on his website that “everyone associated with the Matt Hale trial has deserved assassination for a long time.”

The appeals court noted that whether or not the Constitution protects White depends upon whether he intended for one of his readers to harm the juror.

“The government has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that White intended, through his posting of Juror A's personal information, to request someone else to harm Juror A,” the opinion stated.

The juror hasn't been name previously and is identified only as “Juror A” in court documents.

The case was sent back to U.S. District Court.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 29, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation , From the Courthouse , Updates , Virginia  
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