Federal appeals court overturns conviction of man who sent ‘hateful’ poem to professor

The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a poem full of hate and threats was protected speech and threw out the conviction of Aaron Michael Heineman who had sent the poem to a University of Utah professor. Heineman’s lawyer argued that a lower court failed to find that he intended the professor to feel threatened and that he had The case goes back to the federal district court to determine whether Heineman originally meant to threaten the professor. (The Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 2014, by Marissa Lang)

Heineman’s father, a defense attorney, said his son was born deaf, has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles to function appropriately in society. In the poem Heineman mentioned death by Bowie knife and noose. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 16, 2014, by Linsay Whitehurst of the Associated Press)