452Virginia+v - Virginia v. Black The Facts: On August 22,...

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Virginia v. Black The Facts: On August 22, 1998 Barry Black held a KKK meeting in Carroll County, Virginia on private property with the permission of the owner. The sheriff observed the meeting from the side of the road. At the end of the meeting, the group burned a 25-30 foot cross. The sheriff saw this and arrested the leader of the rally, Mr. Black. Black was arrested and charged with burning a cross with the intent of intimidating a person or group of persons in violation of a Virginia statute. The trial court instructed the jury that “the burning of a cross by itself is sufficient evidence from which you may infer the required intent.” The jury found Black guilty and the Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed Black’s conviction. On May 2, 1998, Richard Elliot and Jonathan O’Mara attempted to burn a cross on the yard of their African American neighbor, James Jubilee. The day before Jubilee had asked Elliot’s mother about gunshots he heard being fired. Elliot and O’Mara’s apparent motive was to “get back” at Jubilee for complaining about the shooting in the backyard. After seeing the cross, Jubilee was “very nervous” because he “didn’t know what would be the next phase,” and because “a cross burned in your yard… tells you that it’s just the first round.” O’Mara and Elliot were both found guilty. The Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed the convictions but the Supreme Court of Virginia found the statute unconstitutional saying that the statute is virtually indistinguishable from the ordinance found unconstitutional in R.A.V. v. St. Paul. They also found the statute discriminates based on content and the prima facie portion renders the statute overbroad because “the enhanced probability of persecution under the statute chills the expression of protected
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course COMM 452 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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452Virginia+v - Virginia v. Black The Facts: On August 22,...

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