By John Sivils

Free speech protection ends where true threats begin. The Supreme Court of the United States has defined “true threats” as “those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” However, the Court has not meaningfully expounded on the true-threats doctrine since Virginia v. Black, leaving federal circuits split on the meaning of intent in a true-threat analysis. State high courts have further muddled the intent question in true-threats jurisprudence by adopting analytical standards that differ from the federal appellate circuits in which they sit.

John Sivils, Note, Online Threats: The Dire Need for a Reboot in True-Threats Jurisprudence, 72 SMU L. Rev. F. 51 (2019).

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