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7th Circuit affirms conviction of man who threatened to blow up courthouse on social media

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A man who wrote a Facebook post threatening to blow up an Indiana courthouse and kill several judicial and law enforcement officials cannot have his sentence overturned on the basis of the jury instruction, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday, because the instruction adequately described the man’s actions.

In United States of America v. Samuel L. Bradbury, 16-1532, Jerad and Amanda Miller shot and killed two police officers and one civilian in Las Vegas in June 2014. After the two shooters died in an ensuing shoot-out with police, Samuel Bradbury, a resident of the Millers’ hometown of Lafayette, posted a message on Facebook saying he was the leader of the cop-killing group known as 765 Anarchists, which he claimed the Millers were part of.

Further, Bradbury wrote that the 765 Anarchists’ greater plan was to kill police officers in the Lafayette area, specifically West Lafayette Police Department Office Troy Green and Tippecanoe County Sheriff Tracy Brown, and to “incinerate and destroy no less than six police cars, as well as the Tippecanoe County Courthouse,” including the office of then-Judge Loretta Rush, whom he mentioned by name. However, Bradbury then wrote in the comments of the post that his words were meant to be read as satire.

A screenshot of the later-deleted post was sent to police, and a subsequent warranted search of his bedroom in his parents’ home revealed thermite, ingredients to make more thermite, and magnesium, which can be used to ignite thermite and ultimately cause a great deal of damage.

Bradbury was indicted on federal charges of threatening to use explosive materials to kill law enforcement officers and state court judges and destroy a courthouse and police vehicles. However, a superseding indictment changed the charges to “willfully mak(ing) any threat” and “maliciously convey(ing) false information.” A jury acquitted Bradbury on the first charge but convicted him on the second, resulting in his sentence of 41 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

During jury instructions, Judge Philp P. Simon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana instructed the jury that “maliciously” meant “to act intentionally or with deliberate disregard of the likelihood that damage or injury will result.” On appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Bradbury argued Simon’s definition of malicious allowed the jury to convict him for merely posting the message, even if he didn’t intend the post to cause harm.

However, Judge Richard Posner, writing for the 7th Circuit panel, said Thursday that making a threat is both intentional and malicious even if the person making the threat does not actually intend to carry the threat out.

“And that is how the government argued the case to the jury – that Bradbury should be convicted because he had conducted an elaborate, detailed and malicious hoax, intending the disruptive effects that resulted from his threat, even though it wasn’t carried out, to blow up a courthouse and kill several named judges and law enforcement officers,” Posner wrote in the unanimous opinion.

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  • Error in the Story
    Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

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  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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