Delray Beach Man Faces Criminal Charges For Threats Against FAU Employees
It is possible to get criminal charges for acting in pursuit of violent acts that did not actually come to pass and for being indirectly involved in crimes such as money laundering or drug trafficking. These types of crimes are known as inchoate offenses, and they can be characterized as attempts, conspiracy, or solicitation. For example, attempted burglary is an inchoate offense, even if the defendant never entered the house that was the target of the burglary. You can be convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy even if your hands never touched a pill, a pot leaf, or a grain of cocaine, and even if you never received any money for your role in the drug deal. Charges of solicitation of commercial sex apply if you offer to pay someone for sex, even if neither the financial transaction nor the sexual act ever materializes. Likewise, threatening to injure or kill someone is a criminal offense by itself, even if the physical violence that the threat promises never occurs. Here, our Miami violent crime defense lawyer explains how a series of ominous emails delivered to the inboxes of employees of Florida Atlantic University led to criminal charges for a Palm Beach County man.
What Is a True Threat?
The First Amendment right to free speech protects the right to rant, exaggerate, shoot off at the mouth, and take the mickey, among other speech acts that appear, on the surface, to contain threats of violence but which contain no intent to inflict physical harm. It is, however, a crime to make true threats. Supreme Court rulings have justified the upholding of criminal convictions for making threats on the basis that criminalizing threats thwarts violence that would have occurred if the defendant had had the opportunity to carry out the threats; criminalizing true threats also prevents fear and the disruption that accompanies it.
Unfortunately, the law is less clear on what constitutes a true threat. For example, in Watts v. United States, a young man who had just been drafted into the Army to fight in the Vietnam War made a speech at a protest rally in which he said that, if the government forced him to carry a gun, the first person he would want to shoot would be President Johnson. The Supreme Court ruled that this was merely hyperbolic political speech and not a true threat. In 2015, the Elonis v. United States ruling posited that threatening speech was only a true threat if a reasonable person would construe it as such. The ruling overturned the conviction of a man whose social media post paraphrased lyrics of a song to make it sound like he was threatening to kill his ex-wife. In other words, prosecutors and defense can attempt to persuade juries of whether a defendant’s angry rant or vitriolic text message should be understood as a real threat.
Written Threats and Florida Law
According to Florida law, the crime of written threats is a felony in the second degree. If you are convicted of making written threats, the court can order you to pay a fine of up to $10,000. You can also get a sentence of up to 15 years of probation or up to 15 years in prison.
Delray Beach Man Allegedly Wrote Threatening Emails to Employees of Florida Atlantic University
In January 2023, Christopher Revere of Delray Beach allegedly sent an email to a woman named Belinda who works at Florida Atlantic University. News sources did not publish the text of the email but indicated that the recipient had previously told Revere to leave her alone. In the days that followed, Revere allegedly sent additional emails to other employees of the same university, indicating that he wished that they would die. At least one email contained a video showing a man detonating a bomb.
Investigators determined that the Gmail account from which the emails had been sent belonged to Revere. In February 2023, police went to his Delray Beach residence. Revere, 35, refused to answer questions or open the door, but police eventually arrested him. He is now facing criminal charges for making written threats. Like all defendants charged with making criminal threats, Revere has the right to plead not guilty and to argue that the statements in his emails should not be construed as true threats.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for making true threats in conversation, in writing, or online. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.