Release Teen Jailed for Joke


Target: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot

Goal: Release teenager imprisoned for sarcastic joke on Facebook

In March 2013, Texas teenager Justin Carter was arrested after making a joke on Facebook. He made a sarcastic comment about a school shooting, and was charged with making a terrorist threat. The comment does not show any real malice on his part, yet he may be spending nearly a decade in jail for it. He should not have to face a harsh punishment for a comment that was clearly not a threat.

While discussing the online video game League of Legends with friends on Facebook, another user called Carter insane. His response was, ‘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.’ He immediately followed up the comment with ‘lol’ and ‘jk’, acronyms standing for ‘laugh out loud and ‘just kidding,’ respectively. An unrelated woman in Canada came across this post, looked up where Carter lived, and alerted the authorities in the area. Carter was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat, and if convicted, will face eight years in prison for his joke.

Those close to Carter have realized that this is an extremely harsh punishment for what is no more than a Facebook post. According to a statement made by his father, ‘Justin was the kind of kid who didn’t read the newspaper…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 has already been in jail for months for his joke. He should not have to face an additional eight years for an act with no true malice behind it. Tell Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot that the Facebook post was no more than a joke, and Carter must be released immediately.


Dear Attorney General Abbot:

Recently, Texas teenager Justin Carter was arrested and jailed after making a sarcastic comment on Facebook. He made a joking reference to school shootings, which was taken seriously by a Canadian woman who saw the post. He was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat. Carter has been in jail for months already, and if convicted, he faces eight years more.

I ask you to release Carter immediately. The context of his comment clearly shows that it was meant as no more than a joke. It may have been a joke in poor taste, but there was no malice behind it. Carter has clearly already faced punishment by being imprisoned for months. Eight years is too harsh a punishment for a simple joke.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Sabina Weilbier says:

    Has the world gone completely mad!?! A kid facing 8 years in jail for a smarty pants remark that was OBVIOUSLY meant as a joke – one in very poor taste, I admit, but who hasn’t made one of those in their life? This kid has learned a very hard lesson (and taught every one of us a lesson at the same time)… that the internet has become a place where not only our friends, who know and understand us, can read what we have to say, often in jest, but any person with a prejudice, grudge, mental illness or score to settle. Please set this young man free at once and condemn the authorities for taking this complaint seriously in the first place. It should never have progressed this far.

  2. This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! YES, the statement was in poor taste but how many of us, when in our teens, did not make silly remarks of some kind. This boy is STILL learning so PLEASE allow him to learn from those who love him, NOT from hardened criminals in a prison. Please let this young man go home immediately. What if it was your child or grandchild that made a mistake? We’ve ALL made errors whilst growing up.

  3. This is ridiculous. Yes, that comment was very inappropriate and perhaps he should have received SOME retaliation but 8 years? C’mon people. Don’t we have better things to be spending our money on then prosecuting kids for stupid comments?

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