Birmingham man's tweets not covered by free speech

Birmingham man's tweets not covered by free speech

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According to former Federal Judge John Carroll there are limits to free speech and one of those limitations is threatening harm to another person. According to former Federal Judge John Carroll there are limits to free speech and one of those limitations is threatening harm to another person.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A man from Birmingham is accused of crossing the line with his tweets about President Obama.

According to court documents, 25-year-old Jarvis Britton tweeted, "Free speech? Really? Let's test this! Let's go kill the president."

This tweet, along with several others and Facebook posts caught the attention of the United States Secret Service threat desk in Washington, D.C. They saw the post and contacted federal agents to check out the threat, and based on these messages authorities said they have probable cause to believe Britton knowingly and willfully threatened to take the President's life.

Some people wonder if his right to free speech will protect Britton, but according to former Federal Judge John Carroll there are limits to free speech, and one of those limitations is threatening harm to another person. Carroll said it's just like yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

"Free speech does not extend to speech that has potential harm to other people. It's never been that way. This isn't a new law," said Carroll. "While we have the greatest free speech in the world there are limits, and this threat area is one."

In Britton's case he was even warned by authorities at one point when he tweeted that he wished the President were dead, that's when authorities say they talked to him about the seriousness of his messages but he continued to tweet even after that.

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