Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Borowski

Court of Appeals of Alaska

July 22, 2016

STATE OF ALASKA, Appellant,
v.
SHANE KIDD BOROWSKI, Appellee.

         Appeal from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Trial Court No. 3AN-13-3567 CR Pamela Scott Washington, Judge.

          Jason B. Frasco, Assistant District Attorney, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellant.

          Catherine Boruff, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellee.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Allard, Judge.

          OPINION

          MANNHEIMER Judge

         During Anchorage Assemblyman Dick Traini's run for re-election in 2013, Shane Kidd Borowski posted a message on Traini's election Facebook page. The message read, "Your going to get assassinated." [sic]

         Based on this conduct, Borowski was charged with the crime of second-degree harassment as defined in AS 11.61.120(a)(4). This statute prohibits a person from making "[an] electronic communication that threatens physical injury", if the person makes that communication "with intent to harass or annoy another person".

         The district court dismissed this charge before trial, ruling that Borowski's Facebook post was protected speech under the First Amendment.

         We conclude that the district court's ruling was mistaken in two respects.

         First, in making this ruling, the district court improperly made several findings of fact - even though, as yet, no evidence has been presented in Borowski's case. And in each of these findings, the court interpreted the circumstances in the light most favorable to Borowski.

         Second, the district court's ruling was based on the mistaken legal premise that Borowski could not be prosecuted for his Facebook post unless Borowski seriously intended to harm Traini. As we explain in this opinion, the law is to the contrary: a person can be prosecuted for communicating a threat of harm to another person even if the speaker does not seriously intend to carry out the threat, so long as the speaker is aware that people would reasonably interpret the words as a real threat of harm.

         For these reasons, we reverse the district court's ruling and reinstate the charge against Borowski.

         Procedural hi story of this case, and details of the district court's ruling

         After Borowski was charged with second-degree harassment for his Facebook post, Borowski's attorney moved to dismiss this charge, arguing that Borowski could not be prosecuted because his Facebook post was protected speech under the First Amendment to the federal constitution. The defense attorney argued that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.