======== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Maureen Garde) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Tsk Tsk! OSA giving legal advice! Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 11:59:51 GMT Organization: SuperNet Inc. (908) 828-8988 Message-ID: <324d12e6.53868682@news> I read with great interest Shelley Thomsom's account, in Biased Journalism, of the visits of scientology's OSA to Ariane and Alex Jackson. In the passage that I am quoting below, part of a transcript of a tape recording of one of the interchanges, _J,_ an OSA operative, tries to convince the Jacksons that talking about scientology might expose them to criminal charges. Set forth after the quoted material is the Florida statute which is generally referred to as the "hate crimes statute." If there is another Florida statute to which "J" was referring as a "hate statute" I couldn't find it. ***** begin tape transcript ***** J [plowing right on] --all the experiences with people, but the difference is, they are good and they are happy. So it would be sort of stupid to say, well you can't post about scientology anymore. I mean, that really, I mean it's like, there can never be such a thing. If you want to talk about scientology you talk about scientology. We expect you to say the truth though, because otherwise you enter a whole other realm of stuff, which is libel and slander, which is a whole different ball game, or inciting to hatred. If you say "I think that church is so bad that I think every one of you should now go and bomb the church or something," you can incite hatred. In Florida there happens to be a statute that says, a law, if you utter words or publish, say something with the intention to stir up hatred against somebody else, a group or an organization or whatever, that's illegal and you're going to jail. It's a criminal offense. It's called a "hate statute." A hate crime. You cannot, and that's because of, well we're in the United States. You have multicolored people, the Ku Klux Klan. They're burning churches. Right now there's a whole flap going on where six hundred churches in the South of this country, you know, black churches, have been burned to the ground. So, the whole subject of hate crime right now is a much discussed thing. It was on Newsweek this week; it's all in there. You cannot say something that will incite an emotion of hatred toward the subject you're talking about. So that's what I'm saying, you know. Within the parameters of free speech there's also the criminal code of the United States. If I say "I'm going to kill the President of the United States" just saying it will lock me up. Not even, I don't even have to prove that I intended it, didn't intend it or what. Just uttering these words. And there's no FBI agent that will grant you your free speech for saying that. You know what I mean? So, there is a criminal code. That's all I'm saying. There is laws. And within those laws you're completely fine. Overstep the laws and you go to jail. And particularly in this country that's a very black and white type of affair. So that's what I'm saying. If you want to post your experiences and it isn't libel, it isn't slander and it isn't a hate crime, go ahead and do so. ***** end tape transcript ***** Here is the text of Florida's so-called _Hate Crimes Statute_: Florida Statutes 775.085 (1) The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin of the victim: (a) A misdemeanor of the second degree shall be punishable as if it were a misdemeanor of the first degree. (b) A misdemeanor of the first degree shall be punishable as if it were a felony of the third degree. (c) A felony of the third degree shall be punishable as if it were a felony of the second degree. (d) A felony of the second degree shall be punishable as if it were a felony of the first degree. (2) A person or organization which establishes by clear and convincing evidence that it has been coerced, intimidated, or threatened in violation of this section shall have a civil cause of action for treble damages, an injunction, or any other appropriate relief in law or in equity. Upon prevailing in such civil action, the plaintiff may recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs. (3) It shall be an essential element of this section that the record reflect that the defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to know or perceive that the victim was within the class delineated herein. - - - - - - - - - - - - - Speaking generally, this is what is called a sentence enhancement statute. If a person is convicted of an underlying crime, the sentence that would usually be imposed for the commission of that crime can be increased if it can be proved to fall under this statute. So, by way of example, if you set fire to somebody's car and are convicted of a felony of the third degree, you can be sentenced as if you were convicted of a felony of the second degree (i.e. to a more lengthy sentence, or a higher fine), if it can be shown that you knew that the person whose car you set fire to was of Irish ancestry, and you committed the crime because the person was of Irish ancestry. Anyone wishing to know about the extent to which speech can be the subject of a _hate crimes_ prosecution should (rather then rely on the statements of scientology's Office of Special Affairs) read the applicable statutes in the jurisdiction as well as two United States Supreme Court cases (and of course, consult a competent attorney). One of the cases is Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 113 Supreme Court Reporter 2194. The other case, cited in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, [is R. A. V. v. City of St. Paul, Minnesota]. [Note: this post slightly edited from version on alt.religion.scientology, to add the cite above to the St. Paul case, and the links to the cases] -------------------------------------------------------------- See "The Church of Scientology and the Courts," court opinions & other legal documents concerning scientology at http://mars.superlink.net/user/mgarde/intro.htmll.