17 April 2004

From the Virginia Supreme Court:

Elliot v. Commonwealth - Issue: Whether the Virginia should change its interpretation of the inference section of the cross burning statute and whether the inference section is severable. Conclusion: The Supreme Court refuses to change its analysis but does find the section severable.

Comment: The Court's reasoning seems proper -"the statutory provision concerning prima facie evidence of intent to intimidate affects both protected and unprotected speech, and consequently, is overbroad" - but I'd have been a lot happier if I'd seen the words "impermissible burden shifting" somewhere. Of course, the court cannot do this because of all the Virginia statutes which shift the presumption of guilt onto the Defendant, requiring him to prove his innocence.

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