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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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