- Jennifer TharpDistrict Attorney of Comal County
Release My Son Justin Carter - Being Prosecuted For A Facebook Comment
My son, Justin Carter, was arrested on February 14, 2013 (yes, Valentine’s Day) because of a sarcastic comment he posted on Facebook about a computer game which was then taken out of context by a complete stranger! Please sign my petition to help release my son, Justin.
My son has been in jail for months because we can’t afford to pay the half million dollar bail money. It took a month before he was even questioned and he spent his 19th birthday behind bars. To this day, Justin has not had a trial. No weapons were found during a search of his apartment, and so we’re really confused and heartbroken that our family is being violated like this.
While stuck in jail, Justin has been assaulted a number of times. He has been locked in solitary confinement for weeks. I urgently need your help.
Justin’s a good kid. He wouldn’t hurt anyone, let alone a child. What I understand happened is that he was in an argument on the League of Legends website, which continued on a Facebook page, and someone on Facebook called him crazy and messed up in the head.
So he responded in a sarcastic tone by saying something along the lines of 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts'. His response may have been in bad taste, but it was written in a non-threatening way that didn’t translate well online. None of his friends or family would even question his intention as anything other than a poor choice of words. Things got out of control, but my son is not a felon and terrorist as he’s currently being charged!
The authorities’ over-reaction is ruining Justin’s life. And it’s setting a dangerous example trying to punish kids who often say strange things that I believe are protected under freedom of speech. The justice system’s abuse of Justin is wasting time and money that could otherwise be spent to help people who honestly need it!
I hope you will sign this petition. I’d like Justin to be released. And I would like a more reasonable law to be put in place so this doesn’t happen to anyone else again.
July 11 update: We still need your help. Thanks to an anonymous donor, Justin is now out on bail. I'm happy to have him out right now, but my son is still facing a felony terrorism charge and years in prison if found guilty. I have said all along that his Facebook joke was made in poor taste and understand why it raised some concern, but Justin has no prior record and he was clearly not actually threatening anyone. Please sign and share to continue supporting Justin's campaign. We need to make sure he's not labeled as a terrorist simply for making a Facebook comment. Thank you.
- District Attorney of Comal County
Too many teenagers are being arrested, jailed and having their lives forever altered because of anti-terrorism laws and investigations that impede their 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Please release Justin Carter, change the laws on what constitutes a terroristic threat and create a criteria for investigating these crimes. Justin Carter,18 at the time of his arrest, of New Braunfels, TX., is imprisoned because of a comment that he posted on Facebook. This teenager was arrested without any investigation of his alleged crime. The First Amendment to the Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Justin Carter was arrested on February 14, 2013 for a statement that he made on Facebook. He was not questioned by the police until March 13th, 2013. His home was not searched until a week after his questioning. The only item seized from his home was his personal computer. No weapons of any kind were seized. If he had posed a real terroristic threat, shouldn't the police have questioned and searched his home sooner than a month after an arrest?
The 1969 Supreme Court case, Brandenburg v. Ohio, sets precedent for law enforcement to infringe freedom of speech when the speech shows potential for the law to be broken. The speech must provoke the law, and be both “imminent and likely.” Why is this boy still in jail when no case has been made for an imminent or likely threat? It would appear that he is in jail for doing no more than exercising his right to freedom of speech. Please do your own investigation. Please consider releasing Justin Carter, changing the law of what constitutes a terroristic threat, and changing what the criteria for investigating these crimes should be.
Jennifer Carter started this petition with a single signature, and now has 228,053 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.