Texas Teen Could Face Eight Years in Prison for Comments Made in League of Legends

According to the conservative political web site The Daily Caller, a Texas teen who made a joke while playing League of Legends (the story isn't too clear on whether he made the comments during an in-game chat or in the official LoL forums), was arrested back in March on charges of making a terrorist threat.

The incident happened in February of this year. Justin Carter was either playing League of Legends or engaging in a forum conversation when another player wrote a comment calling him insane.

Carter went a little overboard with his response, according to the report. His father (speaking to local media) claims that his son said something along the lines of "Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts." His comments were followed by "j/k" and "lol," but forum readers didn't take it that way. Keep in mind that the timing of this comment was a couple of months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that happened in Newtown, Connecticut.

A Canadian woman, concerned about the comments, looked up Carter’s Austin address, noted that he lived close to an elementary school, and called the police. He was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat. He has been in jail ever since and spent his 19th birthday in jail.

If convicted, Carter could face up to eight years in prison.

Carter’s father said that his son didn’t follow the news at all and was only making an innocent joke.

“Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper,” said Jack Carter. “He didn’t watch television. He wasn’t aware of current events. These kids, they don’t realize what they’re doing. They don’t understand the implications. They don’t understand.”

Carter’s parents have launched a change.org petition to convince Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot to release their son. A hearing to review Carter’s case is scheduled for July 1.

“Release Justin Carter from jail,” the petition reads. “Too many teenagers are being arrested, jailed and having their lives forever altered because of anti-terrorism laws and investigations that impede their 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.”

You can find the petition here. So far it has garnered 4,856 signatures.

While Carter may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, and should be strongly admonished for his foolish comments in the wake of a national tragedy, he doesn't deserve to spend eight years in prison for his mistake.

Source: Daily Caller

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  1. DorthLous says:

    Why is that woman destroying one of the tool she could have used to help her son and others in similar situation? It's maddening. Someone doing it with malice would not do it any different.

  2. bluelightrevival says:

    "Now that Cameron D'Ambrosio has been released, I have made changes to the petition. I have made the petition specifically for releasing Justin Carter. The people of Massachusetts have been heard. Thousands of people signed a petition for Cameron's release and he was released. Please share this petition so that we may get the same result for Justin Carter. Thank you!"


  3. DorthLous says:

    It was changed to target specifically this kid rather than be general and raised to 30k, thinking it would have more effect. I feel this is quite a dirty maneuver from the creator of the petition, quite frankly, and has severely impeded their chances of reaching their target.

  4. DorthLous says:

    … Why? If I'm a head in a jar with a speaker attached to me and I say that, *why* should I suffer? And what if I'm quadriplegic? An anemic young kid? A kid? An isolated teenager? Where will you draw the line (and please tell me you do)? The threat should only be addressed if you can prove intent. In fact, without means, I'm not even sure that that should be addressed. Oh, and before that tangent is brought up, I was very severely bullied as a kid. And I believe their should be interventions. But by parents, schools, mind you, psychologists and social workers if need be. But not the legal system. Not unless the harm is either done or has a high risk of being done.

  5. Scott1701c says:

    Agreed, you are not even allowed to tell to stop misbehaving children (some consider it verbal abuse). I have heard of parents going off on employees because the employee would not let the child do whatever they wanted in the store.


    I am opposed to jail time, but the Kid should be suspended and the family fined. If you can not take the time to teach your children about current events and why threats are bad.


  6. Neeneko says:


    In the past not only were these people generally ignored, but for more then today their victims were shamed into being quiet.  Man beats up a man?  Well, it is the victim's own fault for being a pussy.  Man beats up a woman? Well, she must have been uppity.

    I have seen accountability increase significantly over the last 30 years as all sorts of abusive behavior has moved from 'victims shouldn't rock to boat' to 'there might actually be consequences'.

  7. Neo_DrKefka says:

    My point is if you say your going to kill someone and or rape that persons kids there needs to be consequences.

  8. DorthLous says:

    "Every generation is always worse than the one before and the current one is spoiled rotten and cares not for theirs dues and elders!" …is basically your point?

  9. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Sadly what we have now is a generation of kids who feel no empathy nor do they care if their actions negatively effect someone else. We have a generation of kids who have been coddled and have no accountability or responsibility what effects the real word. We often complain and ask why was this gun used to kill someone or knife or a case Fort Worth a ‘bowling ball’ we over look the fact that these kids or people have a history of threatening people or mental illness in which we as a society are told to ignore them and understand their feelings and its not their fault.

    We need to change this mentality we have come up with for almost thirty years that every child must not be able to a standard and they can get away with any and everything

  10. Papa Midnight says:

    Forget the same league, that's not even in the same sport. What you are comparing is a tasteless joke (but it is still a joke) to what is known as "Incitement to Riot".

  11. MechaTama31 says:

    It was not a threat.  Not by a long shot.  There is a legal standard for what constitutes a genuine threat, and his comment falls laughably short of that.

  12. Scott1701c says:

    Is yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater free-speech?


    The Supreme Court said no. Criminal threats are not protected speech. It was not just a "tasteless joke" it was a threat. Just because the person does not have the means (or even the will) to carry out the threat, the threat is still illegal because it terrorizes the victim.


    I say 3 months in jail will be good for him. Not 8 years, that is too long.

  13. greevar says:

    Truthfully, his age doesn't make a bit of difference one way or the other. The reaction to his comment is beyond excessive and he doesn't deserve to be in jail at all. Nobody does. Was it in bad taste? Certainly, but it wasn't criminal nor did it imply any intent to do real harm. The "terrorism" in his comment exists purely in their feeble minds. It makes me sad that you would think it's wrong to apply this measure to a person simply because he was a minor and then have nothing against this overreaction to overt sarcasm when he turns out to not be of a protected age.

    It's truly maddening that people can be put in jail for what they say. There are violent crimes where someone is actually harmed that get a light punishment. I can't fathom at what point something a person might say becomes so terrible that throwing them in jail is going to have any positive effect. People are all full of illogical fear of the ephemeral terrorists that are everywhere and they're finding boogymen all over the place.

    And just to address the yelling "Fire!" in a theater comment that keeps coming up, it's not what they say that is wrong or illegal. You have the inalienable right to say whatever you like. What is wrong or harmful is creating a public nuisance that can result in undue panic or harm. Think about it. If you yelled "fire!" in a theater an nobody reacted to it, would it be illegal? No, because the issue isn't what you said, but what you caused by your saying it. However, people would have to be quite dumb to believe that person when not a single fire alarm nor sprinkler was triggered.

  14. Andrew Eisen says:

    "…was arrested back in March…"

    "The incident happened in February of this year." 

    "He has been in jail ever since and spent his 19th birthday in jail."


    Andrew Eisen

  15. Scott1701c says:

    I just read the linked article. Now I feel differently.



    He turned 19 waiting for his trial (or arraignment).  I thought from this he was early teens (14-15) now I know his real age,  throw the book at him. 8 years is still to long but 4 or 5 sounds right.


    FYI, his age is really important to a balanced article.

  16. MechaTama31 says:

    He shouldn't be jailed, because there is no way that what he said could conceivably be argued to be a genuine threat.  I don't care how old he is or what he did or didn't know about Sandy Hook.  That's completely beside the point.

  17. Scott1701c says:

    This whole "Just a Child" thing needs to STOP, now.


    "He should not be punished because he did not know what he said was bad. He's just a child" is BS. How will children learn that criminal threats are bad if they are not punished, if 'mommy and daddy' comes save them.


    I am opposed to 8 years in jail. But you know 3 months might be a good lesson.

  18. Scott1701c says:

    "Up too" means "No more then".


    People are overreacting to the 8 years. I think if the kid gets time it will be a few months.

  19. Bobby64 says:

    Ugh.  Yes, it was stupid of that young man to make those comments.  But prison?  And up to eight years for it?  Totally overblown.  

    I watch my mouth really carefully online.  Unfortunately, scenarios like this will only become more common.

  20. Andrew Eisen says:

    Yeah but now it says 14,362 out of 15,638 needed indicating a total of 30,000 so I have no idea what number it actually needs.


    Andrew Eisen

  21. Michael Chandra says:

    "So far it has garnered 4,856 of the required 5,144 needed."

    Wouldnt that be 4,856 out of 10,000 needed, so 5,144 left to go?

  22. Lizard says:

    The bar for what legally constitutes a threat is much higher than you seem to think.


    This article, in addition to being interesting in itself (it discusses something that actually DOES rise to the level of threat, and it's a good example of how extreme you have to be to do so), has a lot of links to discussions on what does and doesn't constitute a threat. Pretty simply, the teen's comment isn't even close to being a threat, unless there are substantial facts missing from the description of the case, and the cops who arrested him should get their balls sued off, deep fried, and served to them on a platter. (PS: That's not a threat in the legal sense, either.) If there's a way to bring suit against the Canadian busybody who took it on herself to dump a teen in jail for saying Stupid Teen Things, that ought to be done, too.

  23. Neeneko says:

    The problem in this case is that what would be considered a 'threat' has a generally accepted level in our society, but every once in a while people go overboard and a handful of people get arrested for speech that is commonly used.  So it is the highly erratic application of the law in cases like this that really gets people concerned.

  24. Andrew Eisen says:

    I just looked up EZK's address and noted that he lives near a mall.



    Andrew Eisen

  25. ecco6t9 says:

    Again people using the poor victims of Sandy Hook for some kind of public or political gain…

  26. Andrew Eisen says:

    "noted that he lived close to an elementary school"

    Most people live close to an elementary school.  That's like saying he lived near a gas station.


    Andrew Eisen

  27. Wymorence says:

    Somewhat true, but the First Amendment doesn't allow you to go spouting off things which can be construed as a threat in any way unless it's (according to a supreme court ruling) obvious hyperbole (this could be possible, but IMHO it's better to be safe than sorry later), relating to threats of social ostracism (still no), or politically motivated boycotts (definitely no).

    I also really, really doubt the whole "he doesn't follow the news" line either. I sincerely doubt anyone could really be completely ignorant of the Sandy Hook shootings "months" after it occurred, even if they don't follow the news. I do doubt though that it'll end up being the full 8 years though, it's likely a judge will put in him prison for at least a few months, but not the full 8 he could get.

  28. Papa Midnight says:

    Not to diminish the sheer stupidity of the comment this guy made, but the reaction to it has been completely blown out of proportion. Far to many people get riled up over the smallest things after certain events occur – my favorite, to date, being a 5-year-old who was (initially) suspended for 10 ten days for "[issuing a] terrorist threat" after bringing a Hello Kitty toy to school (it was later reduced to 2 days after a meeting the parent had with the principal – which does not diminish the ludicrous nature of it).

    Hell, even in the wake of Aurora, Colorado, people lost their minds in Montana when the theater had paid actors at the premiere of Iron Man 3 wearing body armor with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo emblazoned on the front – and a fake missing persons notice for Tony Stark.

    Now yet another teen faces their life being permanently ruined for a (rather stupid) joke they made online? Come on…

  29. MechaTama31 says:

    "A consequence" is all well and good.  Criminalizing speech and throwing somebody in jail for making what was obviously a tasteless joke?  That's bullshit.

  30. Neo_DrKefka says:

    In a case like this these Punk kids need to learn a lesson. This generation and in many ways my generation needs to learn there is consequences. These kids are sheltered and coddled and they are never held accountable so these kids literally do anything and they are surprised there is a consequence.

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