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Articles Posted in Terrorism

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There’s no question that social media has had a significant impact on how we communicate with each other. Sadly, terrorist organizations have also adopted social networking as a way to hire new recruits, spread their message and connect with others interested in committing terrorism.

If you use the Internet to facilitate criminal activity, you need to know that the United States government can aggressively prosecute you and if you are convicted, you face a lengthy prison sentence followed by a term of supervised release that could last the rest of your life.

Let’s take a look at a recent example of how using social media to encourage terrorism was discovered by federal agents, resulting in serious consequences for the defendant…

A Recent Case of Using Facebook for Terrorism in Garden Grove

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Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen was recently convicted of federal terrorism charges after using Facebook to connect with al-Qaeda. He admitted to attempting to assist the terrorist network by providing weapons training. A Federal prosecutor said Nguyen planned to offer himself as a trainer to al-Qaida forces in an effort to ambush troops in Syria. That offer was ultimately declined.

According to his plea agreement, Nguyen admitted that approximately one year ago he traveled to Syria where he joined opposition forces. During a four-month period while he was in Syria, Nguyen admitted to using Facebook to convey details of his activities in his effort to practice jihad. Nguyen told people that he was fighting against the Assad regime and that he had had a “confirmed kill.”

Between August 3 and October 11, 2013, Nguyen met with an undercover FBI agent whom he believed to be an al-Qaeda recruiter named “Amir.” He told the agent about his activities in Syria and that he wanted to return to jihad. In October, Nguyen bought a ticket to Pakistan for a flight originating out of Mexico. On October 11, he was arrested by FBI agents in Santa Ana as he was about to board a bus on his way out of the country.

Nguyen pleaded guilty to a Federal terrorism charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B.

At his sentencing in March, Nguyen faces up to 15 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If he violates any of the terms of his supervised release, he can be returned to custody for the remainder of his life.

Be Careful What You Share on Social Media

When used responsibly, social media can be a great way to share your life with friends and family members. However, be advised that what you post becomes a permanent record and can be accessed by virtually anyone, even if you post privately.

Using Facebook as a sounding board to report your activities or vent your frustrations can lead to serious consequences.

In 2010, a teacher from Massachusetts lost her job after she posted disparaging comments about her coworkers on Facebook. In 2011, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was forced to resign after posting a lewd photograph of himself on Twitter.

More frequently, law enforcement is using social media as an invaluable tool to solve crimes. From posting details about a wanted suspect in an effort to encourage others to come forward with information leading to an arrest to creating fake profiles intended to ensnare someone intending to do wrong, law enforcement is paying attention to the power of social media.

What you post on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be used like a digital fingerprint. Be careful what you share!

Contact Wallin & Klarich today

If you or someone you care about has been accused of criminal activity involving the use of social media, you need to speak to one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich right away. You could be prosecuted in either state or federal court, depending on the circumstances of your offense.

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing both state and federal criminal charges. With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the very best legal representation. We will do everything we can to help you win your case.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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“Keep talking and I’m going to get my gun!”

Careless words, even when spoken in jest, can leave a person vulnerable to prosecution. Certain criteria must be met under the provision which covers terrorist threats in Orange County – including that the recipient of the threat must be rendered fearful – but gray areas can become a matter of judgment.

The term “terrorist” carries connotations which may leave a person who is taken into custody wondering how such a charge could be made. After all, you didn’t threaten a room full of people, or draw a weapon on an airplane. However, California Penal Code, Section 422 is designed to protect individuals from threats that evoke fear, or terror. The issue may seem nothing more than a matter of semantics, but it is a serious one, indeed, and if you have been thusly charged, you need a Southern California defense attorney.

PC 422 defines a terrorist threat as a threat to “commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement be made verbally, in writing, or by means or an electronic communication device.” In essence, you are breaking the law even if you have no intention of carrying out the threat. Calling a neighbor whose barking dog is keeping you awake in the middle of the night and saying, “Shut that dog up or I’m going to come over there!” can be enough to put you in a jail. Veiled threat though it is, the context suggests you plan to commit violence
Note that a threat need not be made in person or by phone, either. Sending a threatening email falls under the umbrella of a terrorist threat as well. You may notice that the news these days often includes stories of individuals who are arrested for making threats by text or email message. They may be lured to write things in the virtual world that they would not dare say face-to-face because there is an illusion of distance and anonymity.

What if you didn’t mean what you said? Can you really spend years of your life in state prison for an idle threat you had no intention of carrying out? That depends on how it is perceived. To be convicted under PC 422 it must be proven that:

• The receiver, or victim, was legitimately made fearful by the threat • The victim’s fear must be reasonable • The fear must be sustained over time.

An estranged spouse may claim to be living in fear after you make an idle threat in a heated phone exchange. Whether she is actually fearful is one of those gray areas. If the spouse wants to pursue a terrorist threat charge against you out of spite, it may be difficult to show she was not fearful. While the burden of proof is on the prosecution, one can imagine that a jury will look at the threat and circumstances, along with the spouse’s actions thereafter, to determine whether true fear existed.

The third criterion also leaves room for argument. What constitutes “sustained over time”? How much time would need to elapse during which the victim is fearful? Case precedent may be used by either side to help support a definition.

Ultimately, the point that should be taken away from this discussion is that you may be walking on thin ice if you are imprudent in the words you use. A seeming innocuous comment made in a moment of frustration can result in criminal prosecution.

If you are accused of making terrorist threats, seek the assistance of legal professionals who have over 30 years of experience helping clients just like yourself. Call Southern California defense attorneys Wallin & Klarich for a consultation today at (888) 280-6839.

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Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the May 1, 2010 terrorist bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square, plead guilty to all 10 counts he was facing. In a case of domestic terrorism, Shahzad attempted to set off a vehicle bomb on a busy Times Square street. The vehicle bomb failed to go off, and Shahzad was arrested 2 days later at New York’s JFK International Airport as he attempted to leave the county. The terrorism news became a top news item for the month of May.

Shahzad was arrested after a massive police investigation and subsequent man hunt. Shahzad claimed that he traveled to Pakistan with two friends to join the Taliban. The Justice Department reported that Shahzad received explosives training in Pakistan from a militant extremist group.

It has been indicated that prosecutors will ask for the maximum sentence on the charges. Sentencing is scheduled for October 5. Of the 10 charges Shahzad plead guilty to, 6 carry a maximum sentence of life.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you hire an aggressive, experienced criminal defense firm. Hiring an experienced criminal defense law firm can greatly increase your chances of keeping your freedom, and ensuring you receive the lowest possible sentence. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people for over 30 years.

Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-466-5245 or go to our website at www.wklaw.com for more information.

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You thought you were safe when you were joking with your coach and you said to him that if he had you do any more sit ups that you would “kill him”. Your buddies on the team may have thought it was a joke. However, BE WARNED. If your coach takes it seriously your words can lead to you being arrested for a felony.

In California it is a crime under Penal Code Section 422 to make a “criminal threat” to another person. This crime is called “terrorist threats“. However, in reality a person can be arrested and sent to jail for making a threat to another person where the victim believes that the threat can be carried out. Physical contact is not required to be guilty of the crime. All that is required is that a person makes a statement to another person and the person believes that the threat is capable of being carried out.

Recently our law firm was hired by a school teacher with years of prior teaching experience. The teacher was arrested because it is alleged that he told one of his 6th grade students, “you better be transferred to another teacher next semester or I am going to kill you”. The teacher had to post $50,000 bail and is now facing up to three years in state prison. Does it seem to you that this should be a crime? Of course not. However, the laws have become much tougher recently in an attempt by the legislature to stop people from making threats to other people.

In every case the issue will be “was the accused being serious when he made the threat” as well as “was it reasonable for the victim to have felt that the threat could have been carried out”. Please, before you make any threatening statements to anyone be aware that you may be subjecting yourself to arrest and jail time.

If you find yourself accused of the crime of terrorist threats, you should contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer at Wallin and Klarich. We can help you avoid the serious consequences that you would be facing.

About Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.