Wednesday, August 25, 2021

US v. Bachmeier, No. 20-30019 (8-13-21)(R. Nelson w/Rawlinson & Christen). The 9th affirms a conviction for a threatening communication to a state judge in violation of 18 USC 876(c). The defendant had threatened a state judge in a state proceeding earlier. He then sought a name change and drew the same judge. He sent a letter asking to dismiss and refile because he had said she could not be impartial because he had stated he intended to kill her family. The threatening was addressed to the Kenai Court House on Alaska but inside had the case caption.

The 9th held a jury could see this was a threat to a person. It was not an amorphous entity but could be found to be a person.

The 9th did find the jury instruction to be error. The model instruction tracks the statute to require the defendant to “knowingly” send a threat. Case law and the Supreme Court require the subjective intent that he knew the letter would be taken as a threat. Although error, it was harmless because the letter could only be taken as threat.

The decision is here:


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