timothy from the just-a-few-words-in-a-certain-order dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "USA Today reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a man who threatened to shoot President Obama, saying his Internet message board comments amounted to free speech and ruled that prosecutors 'failed to present sufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt' that the man 'had the subjective intent to threaten a presidential candidate.' Walter Bagdasarian was found guilty two years ago of making threats against the presidential candidate in comments he posted on a Yahoo.com financial website after 1 am on Oct. 22, 2008, as Obama's impending victory in the race for the White House was becoming apparent. Bagdasarian told investigators he was drunk at the time. The observation that Obama 'will have a 50 cal in the head soon' and a call to 'shoot the [racist slur]' weren't violations of the law under which Bagdasarian was convicted because the statute doesn't criminalize 'predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president,' said the majority opinion, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt."
"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..."
-- Professor in the UCB physics department