Remember Johnny Logan Spencer (pic) the Bad Poet of Louisville, KY? This is the guy who wrote the poem that threatened the assassination of President Obama that drew the attention of the federal authorities. Mr. Spencer's First Amendment defense was not successful and yesterday he entered a guilty plea that will in all likelihood draw prison time and a lengthy parole. Here's Andrew Wolfson's report form the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Spencer, who admitted the offense without a plea bargain, will be sentenced Nov. 2 by Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The poem, which was posted on a white supremacist website, describes a sniper killing the president and includes the language 'DIE negro DIE.' Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin had previously ruled that the threat wasn't protected merely because it appeared in a poem, saying it wouldn't have mattered if Spencer 'carved the message into a stone sculpture' or 'cross-stitched it on a pillow.' Whalin noted that the 16-line poem is 'entirely dedicated to the assassination of the current president of the United States based solely on his race' and 'expresses no larger theme or commentary on social or political issues of the day.'
Spencer had apologized to the Secret Service for writing the poem and said he never intended to assassinate the president. But Whalin said that doesn't matter because the question is whether reasonable people to whom the message is addressed would construe it as an intention to harm the president.
Spencer was arrested after the poem was posted on the website NewSaxon.org, which purports to be 'An Online Community by and for White Americans.'"
I confess, I had no feel for how this was going to turn out, believing that this clown actually did have some defense under the First Amendment as offensive as his language is. I read some pretty vile and seditious stuff on the Internet and I wonder how it is that this specific "poet" found his way into US District Court.