New Internet Threats Law

SEA 361 will add new types of intimidation to include communications of threats by posting a message electronically, including social networking site.  The penalties range from Class A Misdemeanor to Class C Felony if communicated about a bailiff, prosecuting attorney/deputy prosecuting attorney, or judge.

Threats mean an expression, by words or action, of many things, including an intention to injure a person or damage property or expose the person to hatred, contempt, disgrace, or ridicule.

This new law will likely result in increased activity in juvenile court, as many children do not understand the long-term impacts of their posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  Over the last few years, there have been increased usage of Facebook posts in delinquency and cases, including trying to influence disposition options when the child posted a rant against the juvenile court judge.  These rants may now give rise to new allegations.  Obviously, there will be First Amendment Free Speech challenges put forth to test the law.

For more information, see this post on the Indiana Law Blog.

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