Muslim Students Face Jail for Disrupting Israeli Amb. Speech
Is 'Irvine 11' case an issue of free speech?
- Duration 8:57
- Date Sep 20, 2011
Is 'Irvine 11' case an issue of free speech?
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Kelly's -- back in session on the docket today up to a year behind bars.
For speaking out.
A group of Muslim students from the university of California's Irvine campus now on trial.
Charged with disrupting a meeting back in February of last year.
Israeli ambassador Michael Oren giving a presentation.
About Palestinian relations at the time when the students began shouting scripted statements one by one.
Emails between members of the Muslim student union -- and show that the group knew they could be arrested for this.
Now despite an outcry from the ACLU.
And several other Muslim organizations.
That men are being prosecuted.
Facing penalties from probation to fines.
And jail time but should they get it.
Let's ask our panel defense attorneys David wall and mark I clash.
Our account so I just want you know it control if we can tee -- the tape is I want I want the viewers to see.
The evidence let's show the viewers what these students did.
To the Israeli ambassador and -- why they are charged with disrupting a meeting at that -- have the intention to do it.
And then do it let's watch.
Here's a source of frustration as a person spent much of his life speaking He -- Yeah.
And then later -- -- foreign minister of Israel.
Now let me start with you mark.
Because what they were yelling it's tough to hear is they're telling him he's a war criminal he's a mass murderer he's a baby killer.
An -- it went from there.
Is that not disrupting a meeting.
I don't believe it is legally factually I'm sure everybody's watching going wheel what's even the debate.
But if you read appellate court decisions the First Amendment gives wide latitude not un bridled discretion to do or say whatever you want.
But wide latitude to express even outrageous and offensive speech under the umbrella First Amendment.
There were numerous students who did similar activities and protests and other lectures who not only weren't arrested.
But they weren't even -- they were even called out of their actions -- is that L question the motivation how does -- -- -- prosecution.
Selective prosecution -- -- we don't like the message -- because they're Muslims are being targeted.
That's exactly what the Muslim student groups are alleging David and others suggesting that this is -- -- it is about bias against Muslims.
And trying to shut the Muslims up.
Megan that this was a well orchestrated flash mob this had nothing to do with free speech this was a well orchestrated well planned and emails prove it.
Attempts to destroy the ambassador's right of free speech these people weren't standing up and making speeches on their -- They were shouting worry him you could even comprehend most of what they were saying and there were emails indicating that the distraught there was supposed to stand up when the disruptive stood up.
The other instructors -- supposed to cheer -- there's no way in the world this could be heard it.
Interpreted as any type of were legitimate free speech.
Is pro said this argued in this in this DA I have to say that party were Crockett the Orange County VA doing the right thing not just to punish.
This conduct this hate filled conduct by the way but to deter it from happening again.
That's the bottom line ironically if the right thing -- Madonna may have been tossed out when the first -- stood up this prosecution may never happen.
You know mark that -- one of the damning pieces in this case and the reason I believe that these students were charged.
Was the emails that David mentions the investigator for the university found emails from the Muslim student union union asking students who want to disrupt.
Especially if they're not worried about being arrested.
-- to go and do -- saying that this ambassador had no right to go to the university and say what He wanted now I mean.
There's a reason that they have a law against disrupting meetings like this because they want to encourage free speech.
From the podium and then someone can respond but what -- did was talk over him to the point where He free speech.
Well first of all there -- protestations.
Were limited to about five minutes I've been told second -- merely because there's emails.
That play and their exercise of free speech doesn't give them -- less protection on the constitution consider Rosa Parks Martin Luther King.
I suppose that there were communications which indicated that they.
They knew they probably would be arrested it doesn't then relieve them of their protections under the constitution.
Hot like eight you know no -- to be sick contending David that this statute is California statute -- at a meeting.
Is unconstitutional that it it it is in and of itself a violation of the.
First and -- -- -- and it really isn't in it and here's the exact language here it says.
So where does -- body finally -- -- the course of the meeting at the substantially impact the course of the meeting sort of getting up and shouting down someone else.
Make -- guilty of it.
That He eleven worried about you aren't aren't aren't -- to be disputing the text of the statute -- -- -- -- the statute itself as it is an unconstitutional statute.
It is it chills free speech you can't say you can't speak in the latest disruptive.
It got -- really illustrate a point lit led to illustrate the point is getting all the letters that are illustrated why would OPEC -- -- is so here's our okay let let's got to.
Okay -- mark you make -- why change it or break.
Let's let's change the facts just for second for the viewers looks at these weren't Muslims because I know that's affecting a lot of people let's say they're not Muslims in the speaker -- about it from the Taliban.
And and the -- -- says.
Was an important day and our history that should've happened let's say the students got up and -- yet now the same amount of disruption as it's being called.
As these Muslim students did.
-- everyone -- in favor of a prosecution of those Americans who stood up and said how dare you Taliban say those things.
Clearly I know the answer to that our that the question it will.
And we'll resume right after this break don't -- Aren't looking back -- the defense attorneys David -- -- mark tacklers -- to your point the California Supreme Court has already upheld the statute.
And has said that this is this is constitutional to the extent you can show that this speech.
That it via the the protests substantially impair.
The effective conduct of an -- meeting.
Substantially impair the effective what does that what does that and you may get and number what do you mean and number two that it was that it was that they would they look at what was said by the authorities during the meeting.
As evidence of whether the university would typically allow -- now here.
Is one piece of evidence of what the authorities there said while the students were disrupting the ambassador watch.
-- -- -- -- Excuse.
Correctness and it's -- the unit.
Not notice that they knew wasn't going to be tolerated and they went ahead did it anyway.
Over and over and over again make -- admitted to mark's point Megan.
Inciting a riot that is not protected free speech are shouting fire crowded -- also not protected that's what they did did it should have done what they did very easily.
It that's not what -- but it's akin to that that's why the statue dressed as it -- but it did -- -- down free speech.
Destroying every 13 species that -- -- markets illegal in the state of California.
-- what you may before the break mark about you know had this been somebody from the Taliban and and saying what what you suggested.
Do you not agree mark that did the bedrock of the First Amendment.
Is that the answer to speech you don't like.
Is not less speech it's more speech and -- -- Under his remarks at which they could have set what ever they wanted.
That this isn't good at this -- This last that I thought was canceled and -- -- -- of these guys yelled out we love aloft bulls we'd love is well we're so in favor of you -- they -- for the same amount of time.
They never would have been prosecuted it's scary because it wouldn't have been disruption was at that point they're on trial in my girls yeah.
-- speaker David wall behind.
Option so another words and whatever you -- the disruption got -- at all.
Hey mark David thank you but I'm.
I'll learn of this statute exists for a reason you cannot potentially destructive meeting and silence a person's speech the whopper tax free speech it doesn't stifle it.
The students here violated that law and are likely to be found guilty.