Nevada Revised Statute 203.040 makes it a gross misdemeanor to willfully publish, display, or circulate any written material that encourages inciting a crime, breach of peace, or violent acts. Penalties include up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. It is a defense that the editor of the written material had no knowledge of its publication and retracted it as soon as possible.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
NRS 203.040. 1. Every person who shall willfully print, publish, edit, issue, or knowingly circulate, sell, distribute or display any book, paper, document or written or printed matter, in any form, advocating, encouraging or inciting or having a tendency to encourage or incite the commission of any crime, breach of the peace, or act of violence, or which shall tend to encourage or advocate disrespect for law or for any court or courts of justice, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
2. Every editor or proprietor of a book, newspaper or serial and every manager of a partnership, corporation or association by which a book, newspaper or serial is issued, is chargeable with the publication of any matter contained in such book, newspaper or serial. But in every prosecution therefor, the defendant may show in his or her defense that the matter complained of was published without the defendant’s knowledge or fault and against the defendant’s wishes by another who had no authority from the defendant to make the publication, and was retracted by the defendant as soon as known with an equal degree of publicity.
NRS 203.040 makes it a crime for a person to intentionally issue, distribute, or display any written matter that encourages:
- committing a crime,
- committing a breach of peace,
- committing an act of violence, or
- disrespect for law or the courts
Examples of “written matter” includes any:
- document, or
- written or printed matter1
Violating NRS 203.040 is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. A common defense is that the defendant’s First Amendment right to free speech immunizes him/her from prosecution. Another defense is that the defendant did not willfully publish the writings.2
Note that editors or proprietors of incendiary material should not be convicted of violating NRS 203.040 if they can show that:
- The material was published without their knowledge or against their wishes; and
- They quickly retracted the material with the same amount of publicity with which it was originally published.3
See our related article on inciting breach of peace.
- NRS 203.040. Publishing matter inciting breach of peace or other crime. See also Wilmeth v. State (1980) 96 Nev. 403, 610 P.2d 735 and Paley v. Second Judicial Dist. Court of State, (2013) 129 Nev. 701, 310 P.3d 590, 129 Nev. Adv. Rep. 74.