AP via Washington Post 'reports' below.
Failed to ask why the people who threatened them
The Harvey decision is astounding.
Judges Rule Against 2 Accused of Praising Sept. 11 Attacks
NEW YORK – Judges ruling in separate cases refused to dismiss charges against two defendants who allegedly praised the World Trade Center attacks and claimed their free-speech freedoms were violated by their arrests.
The judges said First Amendment rights did not apply because the defendants knew their words were likely to provoke anger or violence. Trials are pending.
In one case, Reggie Upshaw was charged with disorderly conduct and inciting a riot after allegedly praising the attacks to about 50 people near Times Square a few days after Sept. 11.
Authorities quoted Upshaw as saying: "It's good that the World Trade Center was bombed. More cops and firemen should have died. More bombs should have been dropped and more people should have been killed." Police said the crowd gathered around Upshaw and made threatening remarks.
In a decision released Friday, Judge William Harrington wrote that Upshaw said his language was "of a political nature, intended to spur debate and thought." But the judge ruled that the words "were plainly intended to incite the crowd to violence, and not simply to express a point of view."
"The talismanic phrase 'freedom of speech' does not cloak all utterances in legality," the judge added.
The decision echoed a similar recent Manhattan Criminal Court ruling involving a man arrested Oct. 4 near the trade center ruins. William Harvey allegedly said the attacks were revenge for American treatment of Islamic nations.
Dressed in military fatigues and holding a sign with Osama bin Laden's face superimposed over the twin towers, Harvey attracted about 60 people, some of whom threatened to kill him, police said.
Judge Neil Ross ruled that the time and place of the speech made it reasonable to infer that Harvey knew "that public inconvenience, annoyance and alarm would result."
Reacting to the rulings, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams said the defendants were expressing "political advocacy, detestable to almost all of us, but protected nonetheless. . . . I find disturbing the notion that people can be jailed for reasons that bear on the content of what they are saying."