High court will hear Pa. man's appeal over online threats

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 16, 2014 12:13 PM

(Washington) -- The Supreme Court will consider the free speech rights of people who use violent or threatening language on Facebook and other electronic formats where the speaker's intent is not always clear.

The court has agreed to take up the case of an eastern Pennsylvania man sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for posting violent online rants against his estranged wife, law enforcement officials and former co-workers.

A federal appeals court rejected Anthony Elonis' claim that the comments were protected speech under the First Amendment. The Northampton County man says he never intended to harm anyone. 

The high court will hear the case when its new term begins in the fall.

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