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Nooses, Cross-burning, and State Statutes

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Law Librarian Blog links to a new CRS report, “State Statutes That Proscribe the Use of Symbols of Fear and Violence with the Intent to Threaten.”

Incidents at OSU and Reed come to mind.

Excerpt from the blog post and the report:

Almost half of the states outlaw cross burning with the intent to threaten as such. A few of these statutes cover the display of hangman’s nooses and other symbols of intimidation as well. Moreover, the same misconduct also frequently falls under more general state prohibitions on coercion, terroristic threats, harassment, or hate crimes. Some of these laws feature a hate crime element without which conviction is not possible; others do not. In either case, there are obvious first amendment implications.”

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