Noose law conviction challenged in Virginia Supreme Court

Source: Richmond Times

By FRANK GREEN Richmond Times-Dispatch

    Jack Eugene Turner (left) appears at his December sentencing hearing in Franklin County Circuit Court with his lawyer,
    Jack Eugene Turner (left) and lawyer C. Holland Perdue III argue that Turner’s conviction for displaying a noose to intimidate others should be overturned because the noose was on his private property.

    2015, The Roanoke Times

    From 1877 to 1950, there were more than 4,000 lynchings of African-Americans in Southern states, 84 of them in Virginia, according to a recent Equal Justice Initiative study.

    The noose was a symbol of terror used to enforce segregation. It is now illegal in Virginia to display one in a public place to intimidate others — as a Rocky Mount-area man was convicted of doing in a case that will be argued at the Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday.

    Jack Eugene Turner, who is white and apparently the only person ever convicted of the crime, was upset at some black neighbors on Lindsey Lane, in Franklin County. He used a rope to hang an effigy of a black man from a tree in his front yard in 2015 in plain view of the street.

    Turner is appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court, contending that his free speech rights were violated and that the law does not apply in his case because the noose was on his private property, not public property.

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