Teenagers sent to jail over Facebook, other online comments

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 6, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    The rub there Swedish Reader was there was actual harm to other individuals. These cases (in the article0 seem like potential harm. Your case that you speak of is slander/libel and not protected free speech even under the First Amendment as the girls speech was probably harmful to the reputations of others and untrue. It could be argued that the cases of this article present a clear and present danger to others but that is extremely thin here. It wasn't a speech held in public where people could riot a real threat for violence from others existed. Since it is a public forum, I suppose the those making these posting could (and should) be monitored closely by the authorities to see if they ACT on their threats. But that's the rub, they have not in my view committed a crime. Perhaps their speech is (very) bad judgment but we don't put people in jail for that. We don't put people in jail for bad thoughts and feelings, it requires action or in your case in Sweden when their speech actually damages others. To me, this is a key difference.

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    July 5, 2013 3:26 a.m.

    We recently had a similar case here in Sweden. Two girls, 15 and 16 years old, were convicted in court for slandering 38 other teenagers on Instagram. When these slanderous comments were first posted on Instagram, there were actually riots in the town where these kids live. The girls were sentenced to juvenile detention and to pay damages totaling 570 000 kronor, equivalent to over 85 000 dollars. Their parents were deemed responsible to pay these damages, which is something none of them can do - both girls come from single parent households with no extra resources. Words can indeed do serious damage, not only to others but also to the person uttering/posting them.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    July 4, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    LVIS wrote: A Russian proverb: "If you think it, don't say it. If you say it, don't write it. If you write, don't be surprised."

    And that attitude (and it is a very real attitude among Russians) was spawned by generations of terror from a government that sought to control every aspect of Soviet life. That Russian proverb is wise. Unfortunately, it is rapidly becoming applicable in the US as well.

    Alexander Pushkin, another Russian wrote: "A tedious season they await, who hear November at the gate."

    Here in the US, we stand at the gates of November.

  • Harley Rider Small Town, CT
    July 4, 2013 6:41 p.m.

    These bogus charges bring tax monies to the courts and all those who feed from that trough. And they give the anti - american agencies - TSA - NSA - HomeLand Security more power and one day that power will be overwhelming - ie even if you THINK of something that is against their law - you will be carted off.

    Freedoms have all but disappeared in the USA - the police state is here, and the alphabet gang is growing larger by the day - ie - The TSA - NSA - FBI - ATF - FDA - HomeLand - CIA - DEA -

    Do your best to vote in those that truly believe in our Constitution - Our Civil Liberties and our Amendments - Start at your local levels, up to those in Washington.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    July 4, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    Parents need to redouble their efforts to teach children that words do hurt and to try and speak and think in ways that are less threatening.

    That much said, those who believe themselves great wielders of power would do well to measure out at least half as much mercy as they pretend to exact justice. When justice must flow in the shape of punishment, ultimately greater trouble will follow.

  • clehman Sandy, UT
    July 4, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    Freedom of speech? What is that?

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 4, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    The problem is that we've come to view prison as the punishment of choice, rather than the punishment of last resort, used only when everything else has failed. And if the sentence isn't so long that the prisoner has little or no chance of successfully rejoining society and succeeding in staying out of trouble afterwards, we whine that he's just "gotten a slap on the wrist". As a result, we have the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the world, the largest number of prisoners in the world, and impose longer sentences than any other western democracy. It also means that we're spending more money each year on prisons than we do on education. As someone once said, if you think education is expensive, look at the cost of ignorance.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 4, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    This sounds like that movie "Minority Report."

  • Sasha88 Key West, FL
    July 4, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    19 is still a kid even if the law says he is an adult. Society treats him as a kid, I mean he is still not allowed to drink a bear for Pete's sake. I have no problem with investigating threats but if there is no evident threat then common sense on the adults side needs to be used. Do we really need to ruin these kids lives and also burden the tax-payer with the cost of years of incarceration plus the cost of that man when he re-enters society years later in no telling what kind of mental state. If you want to create a real terrorist then throw an innocent kid in prison for a few years and see what comes out the other end. This is supposed to be a free country but it's not by a long shot. The constitution is consistently ignored and the prisons are over-flowing. There are more people per capita in American prisons than there are in any other country in the world. Russia is 8th. Do you really think that Americans are more criminal than anybody else? This is what happens when you privatize the prison system.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 4, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    Increased attention and even surveillance I can understand. But **incarceration** for merely uttering or writing something that is, unquestionably, stupid, seem to be even **more** than unquestionably stupid. I think it's unconstitutional!

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    July 4, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    @ruthey01 Whether they mean it or not is important. It is the crux of a legal case. Intent, or lack thereof, is the basis of whether or not speech is allowed or is criminal.

  • Ruthey01 Bremerton, WA
    July 4, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    These young men threatened innocent lives. Whether they meant it or not is not important. If they could have followed through with their words, how many "bleeding heart liberals" would be screaming at the government for not doing something before the deed was done. Is anyone out there old enough to remember Charles Manson?? His boasts of plans weren't listened to before he went on his killing spree. Sharon Tate, her unborn child and several other people in different locations were brutally and ritually massacred.

  • Charlemagne Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 4, 2013 9:11 a.m.


    Merely buying a gun or asking about it at a gun show is not the same thing as threatening to harm innocent people. Also contrary to the liberal fairy tale the vast majority of "perps" don't buy their guns at gun shows!

  • Mugabe ACWORTH, GA
    July 4, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    This is insane. There is no law against what a human being speak or believe, unless it infringes upon some other man or woman's rights. This is just a way for the corporate united states to enrich itself off of the misfortune of our children.

    Who will the $250,000 go to? Where is the injured party? Surely they are assuming or claiming that the government has been injured as a result of the comments. How long will we stand by and allow those corporate bosses to raid road our children.

    As I said years ago, "Today it is the Moorish children who are suffering, tomorrow, it will their own who will become the victims." That day has come. Satan is no respector of men.

  • toshi1066 OGDEN, UT
    July 4, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    kolob1, I agree with most of what you said, however, a 19 year old is not a child. He is an adult who can vote, join the military and own a gun, therefore he can be held accountable for his words.

    I think people have got to learn that the internet means that "schoolyard taunting" behaviors will be seen by a wide array of people, many of them not incline to dismiss them, particularly since shootings are practically the way anymore to insure your 15 minutes of fame and to go out in a blaze of glory. If I thought I could prevent a horror, such as Sandy Hook, from happening then yes, I'm going to report some foul mouthed brat's online ravings.

  • Steven11421 AUSTIN, TX
    July 4, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech? My kids say "You are Dead!" all of the time while playing games (including online games). There is no intent to actually kill the other person.

    I hope one of these guys will stand up for their rights to help the Gov't understand that we will not allow the gov't to bully us.

    I understand that you cannot yell "Fire" in a movie - but that is not what is happening here. It is a very slippery slope to travel down when we try to suppress others freedoms, just because we don't agree with what is being said.

    It is time (once again) to stand up to the un-needed federal laws that goes against the Constitution.

  • kolob1 sandy, UT
    July 4, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    It's amazing how, after a national shooting , we jump all over our kids for uttering WORDS and yet we double down on the words "give me that gun" when uttered at our gun shows. The words "How many can it fire ?", "How many can it hold in the magazine?" have no significance. Children playing violent war games uttering words cause us more grief than perps buying the weapons that can do the most damage. Maybe it is because the child can't fight back, like the illegal immigrant.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 3, 2013 11:39 p.m.

    Where are the parents?

  • LVIS Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:17 p.m.

    A Russian proverb:

    "If you think it, don't say it. If you say it, don't write it. If you write, don't be surprised."

  • Paul Roberts OXFORD, MS
    July 3, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    Pillault pled guilty about ten days ago and is now undergoing a court ordered psychiatric exam prior to sentencing.