Appeals Court Upholds Criminal Threats Conviction

In everyday life people make threats but they are not taken seriously, in this case the courts found a criminal defendant did in fact violate Penal Code 422 when he threatened to shoot a person during a heated argument. Here are the facts of the case:

A juvenile court found that appellant made a criminal threat (Pen. Code, § 422) based on evidence that he threatened to kill a family friend, during an argument. On appeal, appellant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the juvenile court’s finding. The appeals court upheld the case finding that PC Section 422 requires the threat “on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made,” to be “so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened[] a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat.” Appellant’s statements and actions satisfied this element. While upset, he threatened to shoot and kill The person in a loud voice using explicit language. He formed his hand into a gun, placed it into Victims face, and said, “pow, pow, pow” to emphasize his point. Victim testified that he believed appellant could actually shoot him and he called 911 to report the threat. There was no evidence that The victim perceived the statements as mere puffery or as a joke. The prosecution was not required to present evidence that appellant was armed with a gun when he made the threat. The evidence also showed that Victim was in sustained fear for his safety. He testified that he was “in fear,” “scared,” “upset,” and “shaking” immediately after the threat and the evidence demonstrated that his fear continued after he left the scene. Despite the fact that the victim testified that he was not scared of appellant generally, he feared for his safety when appellant lost his temper and the evidence showed that appellant was angry when he threatened The victim.(CCAP)

This case exemplifies how an individual can cross the line during an otherwise verbal exchange. In Torrance Court, people are convicted everyday of criminal offenses even though they say they never intended to hurt anyone, alcohol and other recreational drugs are typically involved in these cases.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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