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League of Legends player jailed in Texas over Facebook rant released on bail

Friday, 12th July 2013 13:52 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

League of Legends player Justin Carter, who was arrested by Texas authorities in February for “threatening” to shoot up an elementary school on Facebook, has been let out of jail on bail.

An anonymous donor provided 10% ($50,000) of the exorbitantly high $500,000 bail set needed to get him out of jail while he awaits his hearing on July 16. The bail, as noted by GameFront, is many times higher than the usual set for someone accused of murder is in the US, which is around the $100,000 mark depending on the circumstances.

“[Carter's family] is indigent, they’re poor. And even if they were middle class, I don’t think they could afford to post a $500,000 bond because it would require a 10 percent deposit, or $50,000, and I don’t know anyone who has $50,000 to get someone out of jail,” said Carter’s attorney Donald Flanary – who took the case pro bono.

“The thing is, the normal bail for someone facing murder charges, facing life in prison, it’s generally $100,000. This is a third-degree felony, he could get up to 15 years. Most of the time those bonds are around $10,000.”

Police arrested the 19-year-old after LoL “trash talk” went beyond the game and onto Facebook. When he was called “crazy” by another player, Carter sarcastically replied: “I’m effin’ crazy all right, I think I’m going to shoot up a kindergarten, and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.”

Apparently, a concerned Canadian woman saw the Facebook conversation, took a screenshot of it and sent it to the Crime Stoppers Association, who contacted the Austin Regional Intelligence Center. Crime Stoppers pays up to $2,000 in reward money if the tip leads to an arrest.

Speaking with GameFront, Carter’s attorney said that while Carter’s comments were inflammatory, they were sarcastic in nature, and his arrest without any proof of intent shows lack of discretion by law enforcement.

“They’re so petrified by the world we live in, post-Sandy Hook, post-9-11, they don’t want to be the officer who has to say that something happened on their watch,” Flanary said. “And I don’t blame them, obviously they don’t want to have a school shooting in their backyard. I get that.

“The reality is that it’s okay to investigate, it’s not okay to continue to prosecute and arrest when it’s clear that it’s sarcasm.

“He was not talking in public, he was not talking to [the woman from Canada who reported him]. He wasn’t trying to make anyone afraid, he was intending to be sarcastic and say something distasteful and offensive. His speech is fundamentally protected by the First Amendment. ”

According to Carter’s family and his attorneys, while spending time in the Comal County jail, other inmates beat him several times, and he was placed on suicide watch and sent to solitary confinement. His clothes and other items were removed to prevent him hurting himself.

You can read a rather comprehensive report on the case through GameFront and MSNBC.

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36 Comments

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  1. Aullah

    You CANT JOKE WITH THAT. You just cant. The same way you cant say bomb on a plane. Tho the bait was too much.

    #1 9 months ago
  2. OrbitMonkey

    Canadian woman or NSA spook?

    #2 9 months ago
  3. Chris8bits

    Land of the imprisoned and home of the fearful. A sad state is our “justice system.” I’m glad Justin is out of that hell hole and shame on the people who sent him to jail because they’re essentially worried about their paycheck.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    Thank god I don’t live in the land of “free speech” then. What a load of crap.

    I’m pretty sure that saying that you’re going to shoot up a kindergarten and eat their hearts goes well beyond the protection of the First Ammendmenr and straight into assault charges. Threat of violence is an arrestible offence.

    Frsnkly, they should buckle down more on this sort of crap online. Might teach some of these self obsessed assholes some basic human decency.

    #4 9 months ago
  5. For Blood

    @4

    Isn’t this a bannable offense. You should be banned for this. (See how ridiculous it sounds?)

    #5 9 months ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 Considering the staff can and have deleted people for sexist remarks less abrasive than your own… no, not really.

    Try harder.

    Here’s a crazy idea. How about discussing the actual topic instead of trying to satisfy your ego?

    #6 9 months ago
  7. Stephany Nunneley

    @4 Thing is you have to prove intent. They found nothing on him and only have a smartphone snap shot of his comment taken by the lady in Canada – they don’t even have the original message. They found no guns, no knives, no maefesto, no explosives etc.

    To continue to hold him for this is stupid on the District Attorney’s part – unless there is something in his juvenile records which they are keeping quiet. Then again this is Texas we are talking about, and it is not known to ever admit it is wrong and will keep people incarcerated for as long as it possibly can.

    You can look on ANY Yahoo news post even if it is about kittens and someone is threatening the president, to “kills any democrat that comes in my county” to literally threatening to burn someone’s house down with them in it – or go read any story on limiting/allowing abortion and nothing happens.

    Yeah the comment was stupid – but I have seen worse online.

    #7 9 months ago
  8. For Blood

    @6

    Are you talking to yourself there?

    #8 9 months ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @7 I’ll admit sticking him in an actual prison is excessive, and the bail is clearly not reasonable.

    I do think remarks like that should be arrestible and prosecutable offences though, online or off. I don’t care how much worse is out there. This is why America is allowed to have organisations such as the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church like walking around persecuting minority groups and promoting hate, because of “Freedom of Speech”.

    In most European countries, those people would be locked up in jail purely on the grounds of hate speech.

    #9 9 months ago
  10. bradk825

    I agree with the lawyer on most of this, except when he says “he wasn’t talking in public.”

    I think it’s long established that Facebook is public.

    9 has a good point about KKK and Westboro being totally fine to operate in the US. Canada has free speech too but we have “reasonable limitations” built into the law. For example, uttering death threats, hate speech that promotes violence or discrimination, or counseling to commit a crime are illegal. It’s not always prosecuted, it depends on the severity. Egging on your friend who then starts a barfight isn’t going to get you arrested for counseling to commit a crime. Talking your friend into robbing a bank will. Just to give an example.

    It’s different in the US though were freedom of speech is basically absolute. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this guy arrested in most countries, but in the US I am very surprised.

    #10 9 months ago
  11. For Blood

    In America if you are white and a male, you have no rights.

    #11 9 months ago
  12. Mjshenay

    The question I have is… don’t we have better things to be doing than arresting stupid teens making stupid remarks… I mean my gawd, plenty of stupid people say asinine things like that, half of them on the internet… while we chase those morons down I’m sure there’s some one doing something actually malicious in the real world who’s been over looked. Because some poor Canadian women has a cow over something typed over face book

    #12 9 months ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    @11 Right, and that’s why most of the people in power just happen to be white and male.

    Those poor men and their lack of rights. All those years of being judged, controlled and undermined based on their gender and the colour of their skin… those white men have it so damn hard. We should raise up our banners and fight so that white men can have the same basic human rights as women and people of colours!

    Good lord.

    @12 So you think cyber bullying is fake and kids just need to “toughen up”?

    #13 9 months ago
  14. DSB

    The Texas legal system is largely based on a lust for revenge and taking pleasure from punishment. They tend to be quite proud of how unreasonable it is, even if it does absolutely nothing to deter crime.

    In this case putting the kid in the correctional system does more harm than good, just slap him with a fine to remind him that threatening innocent people isn’t rewarding in the long run

    #14 9 months ago
  15. For Blood

    @13

    Ha, you are so funny. White men in America cannot have hate crimes committed against them. The only way that is possible is if they are gay or it is based on a religion. A minority kills a white person it is murder. A white person kills a minority it is murder with an additional hate crime charge. White person calls a minority a racial slur hate crime. Minority calls a white person a racial slur, nothing. I could give more examples. Actually I have a good one. This whole George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin thing going on in Florida is getting national news because of race, but two African American teens shoot and kill a white baby, nothing.

    #15 9 months ago
  16. Christopher Jack

    That wasn’t even a threat. First of all even a retard could tell it was sarcastic. Secondly he said ‘I think I’m going to shoot up a kindergarten’ now that’s of course a stupid comment, sarcastic or not, but it’s still not a threat, a threat is essentially a violent promise.

    @13, I think cyber bullying needs to be treated more seriously but jailing a guy for a silly, sarcastic comment(regardless of how tasteless), now that’s ridiculous.

    #16 9 months ago
  17. Mjshenay

    @16 agree’d

    You do realize it cost money to put some one in jail. MY tax money has paid for that idiot to be jailed over… some sarcastic comment… that’s not cool

    @13 how about that kid who’s been just been assaulted, or the spouse that’s being beaten… while we scream and shout over something posted on the internet, domestic violence, in families and in our schools is continued to be over looked.

    #17 9 months ago
  18. OnionPowder

    If we were to take away the rights of speech we don’t agree with (KKK & Westboro) then we would effectively give the government access to silence anybody they see fit.

    If we didn’t give everybody the same access to free speech then things like gay marriage, interracial marriage, women’s right to vote and protesting would be squashed before they ever got their foot in the door. You take the good with the bad so everybody has a chance to have their voice heard.

    #18 9 months ago
  19. DSB

    @18 Spot on, and it’s worth noting that the countries in Europe with the most censorship, who do try to punish people for thinking certain things, also tend to have the biggest extreme and fanatical organizations.

    It just serves to make people feel justified and righteous and more determined. When everything is out in the open, it automatically becomes less impressive. Once you try to oppress it, the pressure builds and the organizations have an easy time recruiting.

    The US has a lousy record of mainstream political support for organizations like the KKK, which granted them the influence and immunity to prosecution that made them powerful in the old days. These days they’re just a bunch of sad cunts in dresses with no influence on anything.

    #19 9 months ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @16 I fail to see how one impacts the other, or causes it to be “overlooked”.

    At no point did I say stuff like domestic abuse was acceptable, so I’m not sure why that’s even being brought up. The main reason most domestic abuse lasts as long as it does is because it isn’t reported.

    @18 There’s a very big difference between a difference in opinion and hate speech. Hate speech should be considered a crime, and is in most countries. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether I agree with it or note

    #20 9 months ago
  21. OnionPowder

    @20 and there is a big difference between having freedom of speech and not having freedom of speech.

    #21 9 months ago
  22. Christopher Jack

    Freedom is an illusion in any society. The only way to truly achieve freedom move to a deserted island.

    #22 9 months ago
  23. bradk825

    @18 That’s the philosophy in US which has been working fine for them and to a point I agree. However because there are legislators, 3 levels of courts etc we have also been very successful with our rights with responsibility philosophy here in Canada. We have the right to free speech, but we have the responsibility to use it without causing harm to others.

    In other words if you lie in court, that’s not protected by free speech, neither is slander or libel that can ruin another person’s life. The thinking is “my right to swing my fist ends where my neighbour’s nose begins.”

    The government does not get the ability to censor anyone they want, or anyone at all really. Our government doesn’t have as much authority as the US. If there is a violation of someone’s rights based on a behaviour that would be covered under free speech, it’s up to the court to decide what is right. If either party is upset with the verdict they can escalate to the provincial supreme court, then can escalate again to the federal supreme court if still not satisfied. In other words, people never end up convicted of a crime simply for saying unpopular things, or things inconvenient to the government.

    #23 9 months ago
  24. xxJPRACERxx

    Man, if I was this kid, now I would truly have the intention to kill these fucking bastards, prosecutor and judge after what they did to me.

    It’s ok to do a preventive arrest while investigating. But they found nothing and he’s been in jail since February, got his ass beaten multiple times and rot naked in isolation… Damn, I know I would want revenge after this.

    Damn, I’m so pumped up reading this I want to punch something and it isn’t even happening to me…

    #24 9 months ago
  25. fearmonkey

    Stephany’s post at @7 pretty much said what I want to say. I have seen and heard much worse. This kid is being made an example of, he is being made to endure what he has endured because this might make someone else think twice about saying similar things. I am sure eventually he will get all charges dropped and a slap on the wrist, only after they have made the point clear.

    It’s the person that snitched on him that I hope karma has fun with. The person obviously couldn’t tell what sarcasm is or wanted to make this person suffer because they hated their comment.

    #25 9 months ago
  26. For Blood

    @Ireland Michael

    I responded to your comment when you criticized what I said. I stated exactly why white males have no rights in America and I couldn’t even get an “Oh”, thanks buddy.

    #26 9 months ago
  27. Mjshenay

    @20 [Ireland], The two issues are very similar. A cyber bully is no different, than a “bully” within a family unit, except a cyber bully probably won’t break you arm or you neck

    and a quick you tube search for “Anti Bullying” has a video with 9 million views [9,000,000]
    another search for anti domestic violence… highest views are roughly 700,000

    So an angry Gamer threatens to kill kinder-gardeners, some one finds out, reports him and jails him with a 500,000 bond

    A woman brutally beats her son, some one finds out… looks the other way “Oh look this kid threatened to kill KINDER GARDENERS…”

    #27 9 months ago
  28. FrogMouthMarauder

    Ireland Michael…you remind me of someone I know from another gaming site. Probably not the same cat but your logic sounds about like his. Speech is speech. You shouldn’t be jailed for it if it is clear you are harmless as this guy is. If words warranted criminal charges, then give me the electric chair for all my future crimes. :/

    #28 9 months ago
  29. FrogMouthMarauder

    What a stupid, paranoid world we live in. Everyone seems to be full of warrantless suspicion because we believe the government lies about terrorism. It is all a ploy to turn us into a world of spineless snitches and subservient lapdogs.

    #29 9 months ago
  30. FrogMouthMarauder

    Oh…eff me…hah, it is you, Michael! I knew those self righteous rants sounded familiar!

    #30 9 months ago
  31. Ireland Michael

    @30 I highly doubt I’m whoever you seem to think I am. I don’t post anywhere else.

    He sounds awesome though, whoever he is.

    #31 9 months ago
  32. FrogMouthMarauder

    Oh no, you are. Probably. Your name links directly to TGV, formerly VGC. Either that or it’s one hell of a coincidence.

    #32 9 months ago
  33. FrogMouthMarauder

    This whole situation reminds me of the world of Demolition Man in that sarcasm seems to be a lost art.

    #33 9 months ago
  34. FrogMouthMarauder

    Anywho, the site looks great! It has come a long long way since its humble VGC days! Jens Erik and any of the old crew still around there? Tell them I said hello!

    #34 9 months ago
  35. ChunkyLover112

    So, you guys think the dude got raped? This is not a joke. I’m just asking because I’ve heard it happens a lot in US prisons–especially to young gamers.

    #35 9 months ago
  36. Rosseu

    He put “jk” and “lol” in the comment in case people didn’t get he was being sarcastic. But never mind that, put him in jail for months and put $500,000 on him, that’s a better idea!

    #36 9 months ago