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Top Military Court: "Racist" speech protected by 1st Admendment. News Team

For the past ten years the US Military has been quietly discharging so called “racist” personnel. One such person was actually charged with a crime. Now a top court in the US military has exonerated him in a 4 to 1 ruling.

From Bellingham Herald…

A civilian police officer notified the military’s criminal investigative division after spotting an online profile that contained racist views posted by someone calling himself “US Army Paratrooper,” according to the written ruling. That’s when a military investigator went undercover, posing as a young woman interested in the white supremacist movement and recording her online conversations with Wilcox, who also referred to himself as “Wskullhead.”

At the conclusion of his court martial, Wilcox, who was originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, but was serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., was sentenced to eight months confinement, a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade. The court decision did not indicate what portion of the sentence applied to the charges at issue in Wednesday’s ruling.

In a 4-to-1 decision, the military’s highest court found that Wilcox’s statements didn’t go far enough to justify criminal charges.

The investigator’s testimony showed that Wilcox “held beliefs that are both disturbing and inconsistent with Department of Defense policies regarding racial equality and other matters,” the high court found. But Wilcox’s defense lawyers were able to show that he had good working relationships with minorities in his unit, and that there was no evidence that his racist views adversely affected his military performance.

Though members of the military don’t have the same free speech rights as other civilians because their speech must be weighed against military interests, the court found that Wilcox’s statements were still protected. Wilcox thought he was making the statements to a like-minded civilian friend, not to his fellow soldiers, the court noted.