Supreme Court rules in favor of man who Facebooked about killing his wife—but it’s complicated


Facebook is where we go these days to vent, complain, and generally sound off. And if you’re Pennsylvania man Anthony Elonis, it’s where you publish jokes and “rap lyrics” about slicing a co-worker’s throat, shooting up a kindergarten, suicide-bombing FBI agents, and “bust[ing] this nut all over [his estranged wife’s] corpse from atop [her] shallow grave.”

Elonis never acted on any of these musings, but he was convicted in 2011 of making threats anyway, which was a federal crime with a potential five year sentence because he did it via “interstate” means, i.e. over the Internet. He was sentenced to 44 months in prison. He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, saying that he was just exercising artistic license, like Eminem rapping murder fantasies about his ex-wife, and not directly threatening anyone, because he hadn’t “tagged” anyone in his Facebook posts.

In a highly-anticipated decision Monday, the Supreme Court decided in Elonis’s favor, reversing the conviction and sending it back…

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