ELONIS v. US
Anthony Elonis was convicted under 18 U. S. C. §875(c), which criminalizes the transmission of threats in interstate commerce, for posting threats to injure his coworkers, his wife, the police, a kindergarten class, and a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent on Facebook. The district court instructed the jury that a “true threat,” which falls outside the scope of First Amendment speech protections, requires an objective intent to threaten. Elonis appealed and argued that “true threats” require a subjective intent to threaten. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed Elonis’ conviction and held that a subjective intent standard would fail to protect individuals from the fear of violence which the “true threat” exception was created to prevent.
Does a conviction of threatening another person under 18 U. S. C. §875(c) require proof of the defendant's subjective intent to threaten?