* Last March, Stephen Bona left this message on State Rep. Jeanne Ives’ voice mail…
“Your Tea Party brethren Sarah Palin put up a map that included the names, locations, and faces of Democratic candidates and put them in the cross hairs of a gun…perhaps we should do the same for you. We know where you live. There’s no longer a ban on assault weapons. Think about that before you speak next time, [expletive].”
Bona got himself all worked up after Ives made some seriously goofy anti gay marriage comments.
* Amazingly enough, the guy called Ives again…
Charges have been upgraded to a felony for a Chicago man accused of threatening a state representative over gay marriage remarks. Police say shortly after Stephen Bona, of Chicago, was charged with a misdemeanor for placing a threatening voice mail at Jeanne Ives’ district office, he placed another call to her, leading them to change the misdemeanor charges to threatening a public official, a Class 3 felony. If convicted, Bona could face up to five years in jail.
* And now Bona’s attorney claims the calls were constitutionally protected free speech…
A man charged with threatening a state representative from Wheaton for her radio show comments disparaging gay marriage is attempting to have the charges dismissed, claiming his perceived threats are constitutionally protected free speech.
Bona’s attorney, Joanie Rae Wimmer argued during a Wednesday hearing before DuPage Judge Blanche Hill Fawell that the case should be dismissed because Bona did not specifically threaten Ives.
“The law is pretty clear that you only get outside the realm of constitutionally protected speech if you mean to convey an intent on your part to do harm to someone else,” Wimmer said. “I don’t believe that he did that. There are a number of cases where a speaker suggests to the listener that violence could befall them if they continue their course of action.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Scaliatine argued that the fact that Bona left the message “on a machine, directly to (Ives)” removes the protections of the First Amendment.
“This is clearly a threat,” he said.
I think it’s pretty darned clear there was an attempt to personally convey to Ives that she was in danger of harm.
I make my living on the 1st Amendment. But if someone left a comment on this blog saying what Bona said I would turn his IP address over to the cops and demand immediate action. Personal threats of violence against elected officials have zero place in a free society and nobody has the “right” to make those threats.
So “think about that before you speak next time,” Mr. Bona. It is my opinion that a judge should send you away for the maximum term allowable under law. How about that for free speech?