Virginia court to Rocky Mount man: Hanging noose in yard not protected by 1st Amendment

Gavel-Court-LegalRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man who was sentenced to six months in jail for hanging a black-faced dummy in his front yard. Jack Eugene Turner of Rocky Mount was convicted last year of violating a state law that prohibits hanging a noose to intimidate. His next-door neighbors are black. Turner displayed the dummy the same day nine black churchgoers were massacred in South Carolina. Turner argued on appeal that his action should’ve been protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. But the court rejected that argument on Tuesday. The court wrote that the First Amendment “protects Turner’s right to be a racist” but doesn’t “permit him to threaten or intimidate others who do not share his views.” Holland Perdue, Turner’s attorney, said the man has already served his jail sentence. Purdue said he looks forward to appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court.

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