There was an interesting criminal case that made its way to the appellate courts in northern California in May 2020 in Solano County.
Penal Code 69
The issue, in this case, was whether the appellant’s conviction under PC 69 was constitutional. Under Penal Code 69, a defendant can be convicted of a crime where they
- Willfully and unlawfully used violence and/or threats of violence to try to prevent an executive officer from performing their lawful duty;
- Additionally, the defendant must act with the intent to prevent or deter the executive officer from performing their duty.
In this case, the appellant was arrested on a probation violation and wrote a delusional two-page letter to the Solano County District Attorney’s office, alleging amongst other things that if he had to report to the Solano County probation department, that the Russian military would intervene and the “entire Solano County DA’s office [would be charged] with kidnapping punishable by death by Russian military firing squad.” The appellant continued, “let me be crystal clear – I have no training in riflery or authorization to carry out an execution.” Furthermore, in the margin of the letter the defendant wrote “[i]t is clear to any rational person that I pose no threat to anyone.”
California Appeals Court
The task of the California appeals court was to determine whether a reasonable listener would understand this rambling letter to constitute “a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence” considering the surrounding circumstances. The Court concluded, as a matter of law, that a “reasonable listener” would not have understood this defendant’s letter to be a true threat.
The Court cited three reasons for their finding:
- Appellant’s threats were delusional;
- Appellant threatened violence by third parties who are not (except in his delusion) his associates;
- Appellant repeatedly assured him he was not threatening to personally commit violence.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
So, if you or a loved one have been charged with Penal Code 69, then call Wallin & Klarich so we can begin to help you in this difficult time. As shown above, if we can show the court, in light of the facts of your case, that your statements were not a “serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence,” we can try to get your charges dismissed.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 203-6738 for your free phone consultation.