The materials charged are "true threats" under existing legal standards, unprotected by the First Amendment. In holding to the contrary, the District Court misapplied clear First Amendment and statutory precedent and trivialized the threat of injury the statements reasonably pose, denying equal protection of the laws to women threatened with sexual crime.
The District Court erred in applying to sexual threats and snuff pornography a standard of protection and degree of solicitude designed for the protection of political speech, which they are not, by subjecting the indictment to an unprecedented and inappropriate intensity of facial scrutiny.
In particular, in examining the e-mail evidence one count at a time, rather than taking the evidence in its totality, while wrongly excluding the pornography from the case, the District Court illegally resolved all doubts of sufficiency of the evidence in favor of the accused rather than the people and usurped the fact-finding role of the jury. In so doing, the District Court substituted its own subjective sense that the communications were harmless for an objective evaulation of the danger they reasonably present. The result is an opinion totally at variance with authority, exceeding in its protective zeal even the rigors of the Second Circuit dictum it purports to apply. Overwhelmingly, it is women who, on the basis of their gender, are targets of sexual threats and threats through pornography. Disabling 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) from criminalizing such threats denies women threatened with sexual violence the equal protection of the criminal law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The order granting the motion to quash should accordingly be reversed and the case remanded for trial on the merits in accordance with the opinion of this Court.
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