[lit-ideas] Re: What a day! Context is everything

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 14:12:08 -0700

Donal wrote

That the court noted [without citing Robert Paul] 'context is
everything' was reported elsewhere:


Personally, I would advise anyone to heed the words of warning from the
lawyer at the end of the report. Courts need quite some context to
accept that something was just a joke: certainly those who tried to run
a 'just a joke' defence, for inciting others to riot on social media,
last year received short shrift. And in a case some twenty years it was
held that while not giving your name at all could not be regarded as
'obstructing the police in the course of their duty' (where the police
asked for it in the course of their duty), it was obstruction if you
answered 'Micky Mouse' (and your name was not Micky Mouse). The High
Court did not make clear whether this result is because 'Micky Mouse' is
a name of extant persons (and so might not obviously be a joke) or
simply isn't funny enough.

From a 2004 SCOTUS ruling

'Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), held that statutes requiring suspects to disclose their names during police investigations did not violate the Fourth Amendment if the statute first required reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement. Under the rubric of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the minimal intrusion on a suspect's privacy, and the legitimate need of law enforcement officers to quickly dispel suspicion that an individual is engaged in criminal activity, justified requiring a suspect to disclose his name.

'The Court also held that the identification requirement did not violate Hiibel's Fifth Amendment rights because he had no reasonable belief that his name would be used to incriminate him; however, the Court left open the possibility that Fifth Amendment privilege might apply in a situation where there was a reasonable belief that giving a name could be incriminating.'

No mention of giving a false name, e.g. Donal Trump, to a constable. As for the 'law of contexts,' see Paul v. Anscombe, Nebraska CR0W0416 A1396Z5, in which it was held that 'I'd like a cup of mud,' uttered in a crowded theater, needed no Anscombian context in order to have sense, and that those passages in Intention, which held that it did, were themselves null, void, and part of das Mystische. [See Mutton College Law Journal, vol. 35, number 7 Jan 1998]

Robert Paul
Mutton College
Sheepskin, Nebraska

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