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What Not To Wear

© Justin McIntosh


If you're going to dress up as a torture victim remember to leave the electric wire at home or the police might think you have a bomb.

Joe Previtera has been charged with two felonies (related to bomb threats and hoax devices) for his silent demonstration outside a Boston Military Recruiting Center the same day a report in the Boston Globe warned people to be on the lookout for people "dressed in bulky jackets in warm weather... or trailing electrical wires."

The good news for the college student is that prosecutors are reviewing the charges (which could earn him a three year prison term if convicted) against him according to The Boston Herald:

Prosecutors are considering "amending" bomb-threat charges against a Boston College student who mimicked an infamous photo from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to protest inmate abuse by American armed forces.

The young man's appearance was putting some passers-by in fear," David Procopio, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, said yesterday, "but we're not aware that he indicated he had a bomb."

On May 26, Joseph Previtera Jr., 21, an international studies major and the son of Westwood Conservation Commission Chairman Joseph Previtera, stood on a crate outside the Military Recruiting Center on Tremont Street in a black hood and sheet. From his outstretched forefingers dangled two wires leading to the box.

"I did this to offer another perspective for those thinking of enlisting in the military and because of the abuses they may be asked to commit," Previtera said.

Which is, I'm sure, what the "hyper-nationalist character" who came up to him and punched him in the stomach was offering to Joseph - a different perspective.


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Comments (23)

He looks more like an Antik... (Below threshold)

He looks more like an Antiklansman.

Any rational judge will thr... (Below threshold)

Any rational judge will throw these charges out. There's no intent.

Why doesn't this asshat cut... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Why doesn't this asshat cut his tongue out to protest Saddam's behavior.

I wonder if he had wires at... (Below threshold)

I wonder if he had wires attached to his nuts too.

Joe- That would be a... (Below threshold)

Joe-
That would be assuming he had them...

Stephen,No intent?... (Below threshold)
Tom:

Stephen,

No intent? Why should we give a crap about intent? People really need to consider at least the most obvious potential consequences of their actions. I'd say that you'd have to be pretty dense to not think about the bomb issue if you start stringing wires into a black box in public. But maybe that's just me.

As if "protesting" the abus... (Below threshold)
jen:

As if "protesting" the abuse perpetrated by about a dozen people in a military of how many? is going to be effective. 99% of the military is opposed to that kind of activity.

Idiot.

Protesters need to relearn how to protest, methinks.

The asshat in question does... (Below threshold)

The asshat in question doesn't need to intend that people believe he had a bomb--only that he intended to cause "anxiety, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons." That prong is clearly met given the nature and location of the "display."

Further, there is no intent required re: the device itself--it's enough that it leads a person to reasonably believe such a device is a defice for "endangering life or doing unusual damage to property."

Annotated Laws of Mass ch. 266, 102A1/2

Possession of Hoax Device.

(a) Whoever possesses, transports, uses or places or causes another to knowingly or unknowingly possess, transport, use or place any hoax device or hoax substance with the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than $ 5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "hoax device" shall mean any device that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine. For the purposes of this section, the term "infernal machine" shall mean any device for endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion, whether or not contrived to ignite or explode automatically. For the purposes of this section, the words "hoax substance" shall mean any substance that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such substance is a harmful chemical or biological agent, a poison, a harmful radioactive substance or any other substance for causing serious bodily injury, endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both.

He was protesting in a peac... (Below threshold)

He was protesting in a peacful fashion.

The prosecutors are thinking of amending the charges which still means he will be charged for a crime for peacefully protesting.

Scary shit really if you think about it. America criminalizing protest. Seems kinda authoritarian when you think about it.

IXLNXS:Um...no.</p... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

IXLNXS:

Um...no.

remember to leave the el... (Below threshold)
Ron Atkinson:

remember to leave the electric wire at home or the police might think you have a bomb

Reckon they'll fall for headphones too? I'm leaving my iPod at home from now on...

well at least he isn't bein... (Below threshold)
PilotCman:

well at least he isn't being sent to a camp like the nazis did.

Well I have to agree with m... (Below threshold)

Well I have to agree with my friend IXLNXS, whats up Dave! Anyone who would not immediately recognize what he was doing from perhaps the most notorius picture since they dragged Saddams ass out of a rat hole, is in denial. And yeah, it sucks that you cant protest these days without being thrown in jail. What has happened to our constitution. Don't bother calling me an idiot guys, or an "asshat," my self image is not particularly tied to what anyone I dont know thinks of me. If you guys arent bothered by this, its all good, but I am. There was a time when conservatives were some of the most ardent protectors of the constitution, what happened?

about that intent thing:</p... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

about that intent thing:

Standard criminal law requires a mens rea as well as an actus reus.

Chris Cross: Where would this kid go from Brandenburg v. Ohio?

--|PW|--

Re: Brandenburg v OH... (Below threshold)

Re: Brandenburg v OH

Nah, no claim that he's engaged in speech that's an incitement to violence. (That doesn't mean his conduct isn't still regulable)

To steal from my 1st Amendment Law Outline--I have the Brandenburg test for what speech is regulable as being an incitement to violence as:

1. Threatened Harm must be imminent
2. Substantial likelihood of harm
3. Harm must be serious
4. Intent to cause such harm

So it's unlikely the dummy that punched him in the gut could claim Senor Asshat was inciting him to violence.

To David Scott Anderson:</p... (Below threshold)

To David Scott Anderson:

What has happened to our constitution.

Nothing actually.

Christopher... Love your St... (Below threshold)

Christopher... Love your Stuff Man, "Sailing was the Bomb," hehe. I kind of figured that would be the response I would get.
So I take it throwing people in jail without access to a lawyer for a year, eliminating due process in the name of National Security, and all that is "ALL GOOD," as long as it isnt you they are throwing in jail.
The Padilla case is fascinating to me. And before anyone starts ranting about he is an admitted terrorist... save it, I can read too. But I do find it interesting that ANYONE, could be thrown in jail for months on end and not be allowed to have access to legal representation. Especially an American Citizen. BUT, I will agree with you, NOTHING has happened to our constitution, except that is being selectively ignored.

Christopher... Love your... (Below threshold)

Christopher... Love your Stuff Man, "Sailing was the Bomb," hehe.
Well, nobody will ever suspect you of being original...but anyway...

I kind of figured that would be the response I would get.
Ditto.

So I take it throwing people in jail without access to a lawyer for a year, eliminating due process in the name of National Security, and all that is "ALL GOOD," as long as it isnt you they are throwing in jail.
You've answered your own objection. They are getting "due process"--quite literally, "all the process they are due"--which can vary.

The Padilla case is fascinating to me.
As it is to me, and the fact that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and will rule on it renders your objections of "selectively ignoring" the Constitution somewhat moot--since that really pesky Judicial Review is still hanging around.

But I do find it interesting that ANYONE, could be thrown in jail for months on end and not be allowed to have access to legal representation.
Well, not anyone...until your local Ice Cream Seller gets thrown in the clink for his "Buck Fush" bumper sticker--then what happened to Padilla is NOT what could happen to "anyone".

The facts of Padilla's case are fairly unique--once people start getting locked up for reasons that are NOT similar (i.e. our resident Ice Cream guy)--then I'll start to agree with you...we're not there yet.

Especially an American Citizen.
Which raises all sorts of cool questions I'm sure SCOTUS will have a fun time debating.

BUT, I will agree with you, NOTHING has happened to our constitution, except that is being selectively ignored.
Eh, so long as there's Judicial Review, don't get your panties in a bunch.

DavidThe fact that... (Below threshold)
Paul:

David

The fact that he is "protesting" does not mean he ain't wired.

It is self evident that anyone doing this has -well- shall we say "issues" with the military.

How is officer friendly to know that he is a big enough whack job to do this but not a big enough whack job to blow the place up?

BTW you asked what happened to the Constitution. I asked you a few days ago what specifically you had a problem with the Patriot Act etc. You did not answer.

I would submit to you that you should either cite specific example(s) of things that are wrong or shut the hell up because you look like a fool.

Your choice of course.

Actually Chris there is a s... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Actually Chris there is a strikingly similar case from WWII with enemy combatants.

The court ruled then that the chief executive had that power.

The cases are effectively the same.

If it is decided differently, it will have more to do with changes in political landscape than the constitution.

I'm too lazy to dig for a link but if you care, it was a group of German saboteurs that a U-Boat dumped in Florida... Google is your friend.

P

Ah Paul my friend, there yo... (Below threshold)

Ah Paul my friend, there you go name calling again. I believe I did site due process several times. Are you missing that part of my post.

Paul,Yeah, I never... (Below threshold)

Paul,

Yeah, I never remember how to spell the name.

The you refer to is ex parte Quirin 317 US 1 (1942)

Amearica was founded on fre... (Below threshold)
tj:

Amearica was founded on freedom of expression and speech.

The fact that he was arrested for peacfully protesting is very scary. You may not agree with his views, but if you think he doesn't have a right to express them, then tell me what Amearica is about?

I think Benjamin franklin said it best "Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither"




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