I am firmly convinced that Massachusetts has lost its collective mind.

An 18-year-old high school student who is known for posting “rap” videos to YouTube and Facebook has been arrested based on the lyrics in his latest video.  Cameron D’Ambrosio has been charged with “Communicating Terrorist Threats” (in reality, under the Bomb Threat statute) and faces up to 20 years in prison.

News articles are here, here, and here.

The problem I see is first, he did not say where the bomb was going to be.  That’s one of the elements of the offense.  The second is that the police keep talking about his video causing fear and people to be upset, but that’s not one of the elements unless there is a specific threat to hijack a plane, boat, or common carrier.

Since when did music (abet crappy music) become a criminal offense?  Haven’t we gone through this already, when Florida police tried to shut down a 2 Live Crew album?

There’s a little problem here.  It’s called the First Amendment.  See Luke Records v. Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992).  You can’t arrest someone for tasteless lyrics that don’t make a very specific, clearly identifiable threat.

 

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