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Obamination: Obama Supporters Bob McCulloch, Jennifer Joyce Threaten to Prosecute People For Criticizing Obama

In Missouri, two high profile prosecutors actually threaten “to take action” against members of the public if they criticize Barack Obama! Watch Video KMOV!

The St. Louis CofCC has been making a big stink over this assault on freedom of speech and today the story was picked up by Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge.

From St. Louis CofCC…

KMOV Channel 4’s TV newscast night before last at 6 PM had a story, that stated that St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, both Obama supporters, are implying that they will bring criminal libel charges against anyone who levels what turns out to be false criticisms of their chosen candidate for President.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, New York Times vs Sullivan, that set the benchmark for libel vis-a-vis “public figures,” of which Barack Obama is certainly one. If a public figure brings a civil libel lawsuit against an individual or a group, then s/he has to prove to a civil jury (usually nine out of twelve jurors) that a preponderance of the evidence (i.e. it is more likely than not) shows that the defendant(s) knowingly said or wrote something factually incorrect about the plaintiff(s). If a prosecutorial authority brings criminal libel charges against a defendant on behalf of a plaintiff, as McCulloch and Joyce are threatening to do, then the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to twelve out of twelve jurors that the defendant knowingly said or wrote something factually incorrect about the defendant.

The two key concepts here are “knowingly” and “factual.” Successful civil libel lawsuits brought by public figures are exceedingly rare, because it’s very difficult to prove that the defendant “knowingly” said or wrote something factually incorrect. Criminal libel prosecutions thereof, because they require a unanimous jury and a higher legal standard of proof, are virtually impossible.

(UPDATE 9/26: There is still an effort to find out if Missouri has criminal libel provisions.)

As for “factual,” it means that the statement made cannot relate to an opinion. If you say that Barack Obama isn’t really a Christian, (something which Joyce and McCulloch say they’re going to crack down on, perhaps trying to put the kibosh on the “Obama’s a Muslim” rumors), that’s not a statement of fact, because religion is mostly subjective. The Catholic Church still really doesn’t consider Protestants to be Christians, and in some cases, some radical Protestants don’t think that Catholics are really Christians. Therefore, if one says that Barack Obama isn’t a Christian, it isn’t actionable, because it’s somebody’s opinion. Now, if Obama were a Catholic, and really was Confirmed as such, and someone for whom that it can be proven does know he is a Confirmed Catholic goes out and says that he isn’t, that’s actionable. The reason is that Confirmation in the Catholic Church is (usually) provable by ecclesiastical records.

In other words, virtually nobody that levels criticism at Barack Obama can be charged criminally for doing so. Hardly anyone else can be sued.

However, in the opinion of this writer, Bob McCulloch and Jennifer Joyce are, at the behest of the Obama campaign, ratting sabers to intimidate people from criticizing Obama. If my contention is correct, then if anyone will face civil or maybe criminal liability from the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis, it’s McCulloch and Joyce themselves. It is not beyond the realm of possibility, in my opinion, that their threats violated Federal Civil Rights laws, two public authorities might well be forcing a “chilling effect” on 1st Amendent free speech. If Barack Obama or any of his people have any fingerprints on this, they could be sent up the river as well.


UPDATE 9/25: Gateway Pundit found the KMOV video; while neither Joyce nor McCulloch say they’re going to apply criminal libel statutes to Obama critics, the implication is very clear. (In the time after the news tory, Joyce denied that she will prosecute anyone, but, again, the implication is clear). Also, we find out that certain Missouri “law enforcement officials” are part of this, including that known Democrat hack, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer. (Hint: Boyer was a big loudmouth against conceal-carry). The implication here is also clear — if people with badges and guns are getting involved, they want Obama critics to shut up lest some cop will arrest them and send them to jail. We also found out from this news clip that this is indeed all at the behest of the Obama campaign.

I think there is enough evidence to bring Federal civil rights lawsuits against Joyce, McCulloch, Boyer, and whoever in the Obama campaign approved this, and whatever prosecutors and law enforcement officials have pledged to become part of this.

What I have noticed is that, other than this KMOV story which had to be dug up from the bottom barnacles of their own website, it hasn’t been mentioned anywhere else in the local MSM, not the Post, or the other TV channels. Why not?