An Arizona man who plotted a massacre outside the 2008 Super Bowl had his conviction overturned Monday by a federal appeals court because his snailmailed death threats went to no specific targets. The case concerned Kurt William Havelock, who drove to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, with a newly purchased assault rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition with the intent to kill. “It will be swift and bloody,” he wrote media outlets in packages mailed a half hour before he got cold feet and abandoned his plan. “I will sacrifice your children upon the altar of your excess.” With the prodding of his father, he turned himself in to local police. Federal authorities charged him with six counts of mailing threatening letters. The defendant was convicted on all charges and sentenced to a year in prison. During the trial and on appeal, the 40-year-old, who was disgruntled that he was denied a liquor permit to open a bar, argued that he committed no crime at all. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in a 2-1 decision. Under the threatening-letters statute, “the ‘person’ to whom the mail is addressed must be an individual person, not an institution or corporation,” wrote Judge William Canby, who was joined by Judge Betty Fletcher. Havelock’s communications were mailed to media outlets, not named individuals, the majority noted. In dissent, Judge Susan Graber wrote, “The result of the majority’s interpretation is that the statute prohibits sending a threatening communication only if the outside of the envelope or package explicitly directs delivery to a natural person.” Havelock sent the threatening letters addressed to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Phoenix New Times, The Associated Press and the websites theshizz.org and azpunk.com. “I will slay your children. I will shed the blood of the innocent,” he wrote. The law, the San Francisco-based appeals court wrote, “does indeed require that the mailed item containing the threat is addressed to an individual person, as reflected in the address on the mailed item. Because Havelock’s communications were not so addressed to individual persons, we reverse his convictions.” Havelock was not immediately reachable. Neither his attorney nor federal prosecutors responded for comment. Here is the federal statute in question:[INDENT]Whoever knowingly so deposits or causes to be delivered [by the Postal Service according to the direction thereon], any communication with or without a name or designating mark subscribed thereto, addressed to any other person and containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of the addressee or of another, shallNo- be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [/INDENT]Judge Graber argued that the conviction should stand. Congress, she wrote, adopted the law “to protect individuals from mailed threats of kidnapping, ransom demands, threats of bodily injury or death, and certain other serious threats.” Graber said the appeals court “should interpret the word ‘person’ in a statute as including corporations and several other types of entities unless the context shows otherwise.”
Apparently sending death threats to everybody is not as bad as sending it to just one person.
Well, I guess that means the prosecution will find a way around it then. Not the end of the road.
Though to be honest I didn't hear about this when it first happened in 2008.
last I heard there was nothing wrong with saying I'm going to kill you without you actually killing them.
In American law if a death threat is specifically targeted towards a person charges can be brought up. However in this case his death threats came out more as a crappy manifesto he sent to some media outlets, and the appeals court here found that as such that law can't apply to him as he didn't target anyone in particular.
San Francisco Legal System :facepalm:
Mihail;5383122last I heard there was nothing wrong with saying I'm going to kill you without you actually killing them.
Still a death threat and even then he had weaponry on site going to do it.
It's pretty retarded and at the start-only a year in prison? come on!
I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.
15th December 2002
The fact he didn't carry out the act means he's redeemable perhaps a second thought, a conscience, but there was intent there so, he does deserve some kind of punishment IMO.
6 months imprisonment is reasonable to me.
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