A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that calling for someone to kill the President of the United States cannot be classified as a threat because standing law does not prohibit "predictions or exhortations" to violence.
In a 2-1 decision, judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California resident Walter E. Bagdasarian was engaging in free speech when he wrote that Obama "will have a 50 cal in the head soon," then called on someone to "shoot the nig."
Bagdasarian published his comments on a Yahoo finance website in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election. He was arrested weeks later, after one of the other commenters reported a potential threat to the Secret Service. During a search of his residence, authorities discovered that he did indeed possess a .50 caliber rifle.
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