Tags: Charlottesville | andrew napolitano | hate speech | protected | hate crimes

Napolitano: Hate Speech Is Protected; Hate Crimes Are Not

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By    |   Monday, 14 August 2017 01:23 PM

It is not a crime to go to a rally and participate, as even hate speech is protected under the Constitution, but if people came to the weekend Charlottesville rally with the intent to commit violent crimes or help someone else wage attacks, they should be investigated and brought to justice, Judge Andrew Napolitano said Monday.

"If they came there to listen, if they came there to cheer on, that's absolutely protected," Napolitano, Fox News' senior judicial analyst, told the network's "America's Newsroom" program.

"If they came there to perpetrate a crime or help somebody else commit a crime, that's the type of thing that the FBI needs to find out. There is a long series of potential federal crimes that they would have committed if they left one state for the purpose of committing a crime in another state."

Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr., 20, is being held without bail in Charlottesville after his arrest Saturday on charges of second-degree murder after allegedly ramming his car into a group of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

Napolitano said he agrees that a federal investigation must take place to determine whether the car attack was an organized effort.

"Did this awful person, who is now in custody in Virginia, have a plan or a plot with others that began in Ohio and ended with the murder of this young woman in the streets of Charlottesville?" said the judge. "If so, who are these other people and what was the nature of the plan and the plot?"

Virginia authorities are concentrating on the crimes that manifested in Charlottesville, so the federal investigation will determine where Fields will face trial first, said Napoiltano.

"Typically the federal government goes first, but in a case like this, where the evidence of guilt is overwhelming and the charges filed can bring a life in prison, not capital punishment but life in it prison, might actually be a waste for the feds to prosecute him," said Napolitano. "But if the feds do discover that others were involved, they would be derelict in not prosecuting the others because they would have participated in the commission of this crime."

Meanwhile, the judge said he does not believe the case will be resolved this year, unless Field enters a plea to the charges he's facing.

"Unless there is some very, very unusual plea deal these prosecutions take a long time," said Napolitano. "The young man can't afford a lawyer, all these things will cause delays. This will not be resolved in 2017."

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It is not a crime to go to a rally and participate, as even hate speech is protected under the Constitution, but if people came to the weekend Charlottesville rally with the intent to commit violent crimes or help someone else wage attacks, they should be investigated and...
andrew napolitano, hate speech, protected, hate crimes
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2017-23-14
Monday, 14 August 2017 01:23 PM
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