Yesterday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a conviction of Felony Terroristic Threats based on an alleged threat to a state trooper. During questioning regarding a DWI breath test by the trooper, the motorist told the trooper the following:
“It is no wonder people are killing you guys. I truly hope that you are one of the cops that gets their head blown
off. I truly hope that because I have done nothing wrong. I stopped to make a fucking phone call because I got
beat up. You guys are assholes.”
Later, at the hospital, the motorist leaned over to the trooper and said, “I hope someone puts a slug in your head, you loser.”
The motorist was charged with a DWI, felony terroristic threats for his comments to the trooper, and several other less serious charges. The law makes it a crime to declare an intention to injure another by violence, which includes felony assaults and murder. However, at trial, the trooper admitted the motorist never said that he would do anything, or intended to do anything to the trooper. Instead, the motorist stated he hoped someone would commit a murder. Nonetheless, the jury found the motorist guilty of terroristic threats.
In reversing, the terroristic threats conviction, the Court of Appeals held that the his statements did not constitute direct threats to commit a crime of violence, and that a threat must communicate that the person will act accordingly.
Read the full court decision here.