| WASHINGTON, June 16
WASHINGTON, June 16 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday agreed to decide whether a man convicted of making
threatening statements to his estranged wife and others on
social media should have avoided prosecution.
The court will weigh an appeal filed by Anthony Elonis, who
posted a series of statements on Facebook in 2010 soon after his
wife, Tara Elonis, left him. Among the posts were some
threatening references to his wife that prompted her to obtain a
Elonis was charged with violating a federal law that outlaws
sending a threatening communication. He failed to have the
indictment dismissed on the grounds the government could not
show intent to make a threatening statement.
He was convicted on four of five counts and sentenced to 44
months in prison. In June 2013, the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.
The Supreme Court will resolve splits among lower courts
over what prosecutors need to prove to secure a conviction. Some
courts have said that proof is required of the defendant's
intent to threaten. Others have found prosecutors need only show
that a reasonable person would find the statement to be a
Oral arguments and a decision are expected in the court's
next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2015. The
case is Elonis v. USA, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-983.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham and Grant