I hold no sympathy for racists or those who would threaten anyone, including the sitting President. There's just no excuse for it and such behavior cannot be tolerated. But as a veteran and experienced police officer I understand the difference between those who are stupid and those who are determined and dangerous. Apparently (and surprisingly) so does the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In a ruling on Tuesday they demonstrated common sense and overturned the conviction of Walter Bagdasarian for threatening then candidate obama in 2008.
Here's the key wording;
"The Ninth Circuit overturned Bagdasarian's conviction because there was not sufficient evidence that a reasonable person who read the postings would have believed that Bagdasarian intended to injure or kill Obama."
It's the "Reasonable Person" rule and it's been notably absent from court rulings lately, especially the 9th Circuit. That this liberal court would find thus is both interesting and encouraging. The 9th Circuit isn't exactly known for reasonableness or getting things right. This is a very small case but a very important ruling, especially in California where case law is so important to future criminal filings and rulings.
Walter Bagdasarian is a human stain who deserves neither sympathy nor an audience. I reject him, his words and his beliefs. I can but hope that sometime he runs that nasty mouth at someone who will take a more personal umbrage and teach him about the value of STFU. But. He is still American and does deserve to have his rights upheld. As a man who once worked under the auspices of the 9th Circuit I am heartened by this decision and can only hope that it indicative of a sea change in the 9th Circuit.