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Evidence Keyed to Park
Virginia v. Black
Citation:538 U.S. 343 (2003)
Respondent Barry Black, Richard Elliott, and Jonathan O’Mara were convicted separately of violating Virginia’s cross burning statute. At Black’s trial, the jury was instructed that intent to intimidate means the motivation to intentionally put a person or a group of persons in fear of bodily harm. Such fear must arise from the willful conduct of the accused rather than from some mere temperamental timidity of the victim. The trial court also instructed the jury that the burning of a cross by itself is sufficient evidence from which you may infer the required intent. When Black objected to this instruction on First Amendment grounds, the prosecutor responded that the instruction was taken straight out of the Virginia Model Instructions.
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