From the AP:

CLEVELAND – A man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to writing racially hateful letters and e-mails to black or mixed-race people, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

David Tuason, who lived in the Cleveland suburbs with his parents, sent threatening communications to high school, college and professional athletes, coaches, celebrities, musicians, news anchors, hospitals, police departments, lawyers and a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a plea deal made public Thursday.

This seems like it touches on a very common question around free speech: “is hate speech protected?” In this case, it seems not, as criminal charges were brought against a man for writing vitriolic letters. But on the Internet, it seems things are different, and courts protect the anonymity of people who posted really lurid personal attacks and rape threats against law students, as well as other other “unquestionably offensive and demeaning” forum trolls. 

So, is Internet hate speech more protected than postal-mail hate speech?

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