From: mgarde@superlink.net (Maureen Garde)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Tsk Tsk!  OSA giving legal advice!
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 11:59:51 GMT
Organization: SuperNet Inc. (908) 828-8988
Message-ID: <324d12e6.53868682@news>

    I read with great interest Shelley Thomsom's account, in
Biased Journalism, of the visits of scientology's OSA
to Ariane and Alex Jackson.  In the passage that I am
quoting below, part of a transcript of a tape recording of
one of the interchanges, _J,_ an OSA operative, tries to
convince the Jacksons that talking about scientology might
expose them to criminal charges.  Set forth after the quoted
material is the Florida statute which is generally referred
to as the "hate crimes statute."  If there is another
Florida statute to which "J" was referring as a "hate
statute" I couldn't find it.

***** begin tape transcript *****

J       [plowing right on] --all the experiences with people, but
        the difference is, they are good and they are happy.  So
        it would be sort of stupid to say, well you can't post
        about scientology anymore.  I mean, that really, I
        mean it's like, there can never be such a thing.

        If you want to talk about scientology you talk about
        scientology.  We expect you to say the truth though,
        because otherwise you enter a whole other realm of
        stuff, which is libel and slander, which is a whole
        different ball game, or inciting to hatred.  If
        you say "I think that church is so bad that I think
        every one of you should now go and bomb the church
        or something," you can incite hatred.  In Florida
        there happens to be a statute that says, a law,
        if you utter words or publish, say something with
        the intention to stir up hatred against somebody
        else, a group or an organization or whatever,
        that's illegal and you're going to jail.  It's a
        criminal offense.  It's called a "hate statute."  A
        hate crime.  You cannot, and that's because of, well
        we're in the United States.  You have multicolored
        people, the Ku Klux Klan.  They're burning churches.
        Right now there's a whole flap going on where six
        hundred churches in the South of this country, you
        know, black churches, have been burned to the ground.
        So, the whole subject of hate crime right now is a
        much discussed thing.  It was on Newsweek this week;
        it's all in there.  You cannot say something that
        will incite an emotion of hatred toward the subject
        you're talking about.  So that's what I'm saying,
        you know.  Within the parameters of free speech
        there's also the criminal code of the United States.
        If I say "I'm going to kill the President of the
        United States" just saying it will lock me up.
        Not even, I don't even have to prove that I intended
        it, didn't intend it or what.  Just uttering these

        words.  And there's no FBI agent that will grant
        you your free speech for saying that.  You know what
        I mean?  So, there is a criminal code.  That's all
        I'm saying.  There is laws.  And within those
        laws you're completely fine.  Overstep the laws and
        you go to jail.  And particularly in this country
        that's a very black and white type of affair.

        So that's what I'm saying.  If you want to post your
        experiences and it isn't libel, it isn't slander and
        it isn't a hate crime, go ahead and do so.

***** end tape transcript *****

Here is the text of Florida's so-called _Hate Crimes Statute_:

Florida Statutes 775.085

     (1)  The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified
as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or
misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry,
ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin of the victim:

          (a)  A misdemeanor of the second degree shall be punishable as if

it were a misdemeanor of the first degree.
          (b)  A misdemeanor of the first degree shall be punishable as if
it were a felony of the third degree.
          (c)  A felony of the third degree shall be punishable as if it
were a felony of the second degree.
          (d)  A felony of the second degree shall be punishable as if it
were a felony of the first degree.

     (2)  A person or organization which establishes by clear and
convincing evidence that it has been coerced, intimidated, or threatened
in violation of this section shall have a civil cause of action for treble
damages, an injunction, or any other appropriate relief in law or in
equity.  Upon prevailing in such civil action, the plaintiff may recover
reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

     (3)  It shall be an essential element of this section that the record
reflect that the defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to
know or perceive that the victim was within the class delineated herein.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Speaking generally, this is what is called a sentence enhancement
statute.  If a person is convicted of an underlying crime, the sentence
that would usually be imposed for the commission of that crime can be
increased if it can be proved to fall under this statute.  So, by way of
example, if you set fire to somebody's car and are convicted of a felony
of the third degree, you can be sentenced as if you were convicted of a
felony of the second degree (i.e. to a more lengthy sentence, or a higher
fine), if it can be shown that you knew that the person whose car you set
fire to was of Irish ancestry, and you committed the crime because the
person was of Irish ancestry.

Anyone wishing to know about the extent to which speech can be the
subject of a _hate crimes_ prosecution should (rather then rely on the
statements of scientology's Office of Special Affairs) read the applicable
statutes in the jurisdiction as well as two United States
Supreme Court cases (and of course, consult a competent attorney).

One of the cases is  Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 113 Supreme Court Reporter
2194.  The other case, cited in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, [is  R. A. V. v. City of
St. Paul, Minnesota].

[Note: this post slightly edited from version on alt.religion.scientology,
to add the cite above to the St. Paul case, and the links to the cases]

See "The Church of Scientology and the Courts,"
court opinions & other legal documents concerning scientology
at http://mars.superlink.net/user/mgarde/intro.htmll.