Last month, a state appellate court released a written opinion involving a defendant charged with making gang-related threats to law enforcement officers as they were investigating an unrelated crime. Initially, the jury convicted the defendant on several charges, but the trial court reversed that conviction, finding that the jury’s decision was against the weight of the evidence. The appellate court affirmed.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was the passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over by police for a traffic violation. Police suspected that the driver of the car was intoxicated, and began processing the driver’s arrest. While police officers were arresting the driver, the defendant—a known gang member—began shouting at the police. Specifically, the defendant shouted that he was “West Side City,” the police didn’t “even know what’s coming,” the officers were “done,” and that he was going to start a “war.”
Police arrested the defendant, who was later charged with three counts of threatening or intimidating to promote a criminal street gang and several other related charges. The case proceeded to a jury trial, after which the jury found the defendant guilty of making the threats. The defendant filed a post-trial motion, arguing that the jury’s finding was against the weight of the evidence, which the court granted. The State appealed.