For a threat to be unprotected by the First Amendment, the prosecution must prove that the defendant subjectively understood that the statement could be perceived as threatening.
In Mashaud v. Boone, the D.C. Court of Appeals limited the scope of unprotected speech under District’s stalking statute to threats, obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement, and speech integral to criminal conduct.
Telling someone that you will “slap” his/her “bitch ass” is threatening on its face. But criminal threats require the ability to follow through.
According to D.C. Court of Appeals decision in Odumn v. United States, “a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from inviting a third party onto leased premises for a lawful purpose, nor may the landlord prohibit such third party from entering or exiting the property through the property’s common space.”
The evidence was consistent with an intent to open the car door, not to damage the door handle. The prosecution was therefore unable to prove criminal intent.
According to the police report, our client was hanging out by one of the gas pumps when police pulled in. The body worn cameras proved otherwise. Not guilty!
The evidence suggested that our client intended to exit the store, not damage property. There was also a question as to who actually broke the door.
In unlawful entry cases in which the defendant is charged with violating a DCHA barring order, the underlying order must be authorized by D.C. statute.
The court found in Rahman v. U.S. that remaining in a restaurant for 10 minutes after being asked to leave was sufficient to be found guilty of unlawful entry.
There is good news for D.C. criminal defense lawyers: Prostitution-related arrests can be expected to rise in the coming months.