Sarcastic or Terroristic? Texas Teen Held Almost Five Months For Single Facebook Comment

xjustin-carter-photo.jpg.pagespeed.ic.5DwZFivrYVWe have previously discussed the often unhinged reaction to jokes and postings referring to violence by authorities. It is certainly understandable and commendable to take such postings seriously, but even when all available evidence points to a juvenile exchange or bad joke, the cases seems to go into autopilot with prosecutors and police insisting on absurd charges. That appears to be the case of Texas teenager Justin Carter who has been held for over four months due to a single sarcastic posting on Facebook for “terroristic threats.” This case shows, once again, prosecutors and police showing no judgment or logic in the handling of such cases.

Carter’s nightmare began with Justin and a friend were arguing on Facebook with someone else over the online video game “League of Legends.” Someone said Justin was insane and he responded in juvenile jest with “I’m fucked in the head alright. I think I’ma (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.” His family says that he followed that with “LOL” and “J/K.” However, a woman in Canada called police and a week later a search warrant was issued.

Prosecutors then brought charges without showing any discretion and this void of logic was followed by a judge who set bail at $500,000.

There is no reference to a single piece of evidence supporting a claim that there was any intent to commit an act of violence. Yet, this young man is being held for months on an absurd bail amount in a case based on what appears to be juvenile banter. The concern is that we now have this massive counter-terrorism system funded by billions of dollars each year and employing thousands of investigators and prosecutors. There have been relatively few serious cases to feed and justify this system. When any case enters the system and “terrorism” is mentioned, it seems to go on autopilot. No one wants to be accused of being soft on such crimes.

If there is more to this case, someone needs to identify it. As it stands, this sounds like a cruel joke on a teen who has been languishing in jail for a sarcastic joke.

A hearing to reconsider Carter’s bail is set for July 16.

Source: CNN

49 thoughts on “Sarcastic or Terroristic? Texas Teen Held Almost Five Months For Single Facebook Comment”

  1. Larry:

    It’s been a long time since I heard “In re Gault”, but you are right about that.

    I don’t believe Gault addressed trial by jury. I just read Kansas’ supreme court mandated the right to a trial by jury to juveniles. I would say the situation is ripe in my state for a change. Our state constitution declares the right to any defendant accused of a crime to have a trial by jury, but state law actually prohibits juries for juvenile offenders. Seems to me this should be preempted by the state constitution.

  2. Swarthmore,
    What a great video. It was amazing to see that young woman speak the truth to the Texas state legislature that is currently making a mockery of womens health.

  3. Darren,
    I can remember a Supreme Court case that extended some of the protections adults get to minor back in the 60’s or 70’s called In Re Gault and it really opened my eyes to the fact that minors have reduced constitutional rights.

  4. AY

    You bring up a good point that I have been complaining about for 30 years. Juveniles are not provided the same constitutional protections as adults and this is in my view fundamentally unconstitutional. In our state juveniles are not allowed a jury trial (among other things) I am sure it is for the reason or similar reason that you state. Yet despite this “civil” nature claim felony convictions for crimes of violence can be used against them when they reach the age of majority for subsequent offenses when determining their sentence based upon past convictins.

    I fail to see how in the case of a juvenile being accused of a crime, the state can statutorily override the US and State consititutional mandate of the right to a jury trial.

  5. Darren,

    I’d agree with you in ALL criminal proceedings…. However, if I recall John Hill Texas AG years ago issued a ruling that in the Texas Family/juvenile arena that since a child really never has a conviction…. It’s Civil in nature that they don’t really have a right to a speedy trial….. I think that’s the way it went….. Hence, in Texas a minor apprehended on a vald orde of the court maybe held in custody an indeterminate amount f time…. Never mind the fact… That if I recall in this particular case he’s being held under a protective/psychractric matter….. It’s all BS to me….. But, politics has taken over….

  6. @diogenes

    I concur. Nobody wants to cut back on the security theatre due to their fear of the unknown.

    But I have the feeling that if all the CEO’s and high payed corporate execs had to undergo enhanced patdowns and pornoscans before boarding their private jets, things might start to change a little.

    Since, you know, a private jet can be hijacked and used as a missile just as well as a commercial airliner…

  7. You’ve got to see it in a larger context: Job Security.
    Remember that Senator Kennedy, while alive, was put on the “No Fly” list. Took him a year to have his name removed.
    There was also a 10 months old toddler on that list.

    You can not attribute such manifestations to mere stupidity of individuals: is built-in into this behemoth keepin’ us safe.

  8. @ davidbluefish but that is my point. how would a woman from canada know which agency to contact and why? i mean did she just dial up 911 and report it and from there they reported up and up until it hit the software at the new intelligence center. the one they now allow us to know about. because they have a worse one coming our way sooner rather then later. im a woman of 45 and once i know the post im reading belongs to teenagers i quickly bypass it. i for one have not forgotten the bs i got up to as a teen. smh. maybe if the pharma thugs would stop forcing kids and teens onto their deadly drug regimens we wouldnt even have this issue.. but they will never stop that. and issues like this will continue on.

    then again let’s hope not. i sure do not want to see all of our youth locked up in their private owned prisons.

    “July 5, 2013. Houston. A Texas plot to assassinate leaders from the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t even merited a mention on the nightly news. But details are slowly leaking out about the illegal program showing that the FBI isn’t just aware of the campaign to murder US political leaders, they may actually be sheltering and funding it.”

    “… the Occupy movement is currently classified by the US federal government as a terrorist organization, or at least the act of ‘occupying’ is officially considered a terrorist activity. With government-sponsored death squads only a hair away from assassinating Occupy Houston’s Remington Alessi and other Occupy Wall St. leaders, the specific wording used is no longer important.

    He believes the assassination plot was dreamed up in Houston, where private contractors like Craft work with Homeland Security’s ‘Fusion Center’. At the Houston facility, national, state and local spy agencies all work together to monitor the American people. The thought of DHS’s regional spy base being ‘occupied’ may have been too much for federal agents to take.”

  10. We need laws that say it is illegal to say things that can be interpreted as threatening. But of course, if we do that, we run into the constitutional issue of free speech. And who will be the interpreters? Oh well, then we need laws that say that it is illegal to say things that a REASONABLE MAN would consider threatening. That would be great because we could add a few hundred thousand judges — yay, more warlords to watch over us — and then we would need some laws to say that it’s illegal to APPEAR to say things that might APPEAR to be threatening to a reasonable man. Yeah, that’s the ticket! So we need to get these legislatures working on this stuff right away because you can never have too many laws!

    1. Malisha thought we did already. It’s called the Patriot Act. ):

  11. To me the issue is the inability of the prosecution to address each case on its own merits. Although I am not familiar with each of these instances it does appear that each is approached with a lack of prosecutorial common sense. Unfortunately again nothing will be done to address this approach since most americans seem to be apathetic.

  12. “I’m gonna ply devil’s advocate here. What if nothing had been said or done about this, and the kid actually DID go and shoot up a kindergarten? Then what would people be saying?”

    Truly S.,

    Based on that logic, why don’t we just shoot the kid straight out, then we’ll know for certain that no kids in kindergarten will be killed by him? Interesting concept for a new capital law: “Suspicion of a Murderous Mindset”.

  13. Have police a legal system military islamic sharia law and people perverting scripture in any bible going around with steely eyes to condemn have terrorism. Have the lack of it have Christians.

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