SCOTUS tosses Pa. man's conviction over Facebook threats

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 1, 2015 11:25 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Susan Walsh

John P. Elwood, attorney for Anthony D. Elonis, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, earlier today.

(Washington) -- The Supreme Court has thrown out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man accused of making threats on Facebook. 

The justices have ruled it was not enough for prosecutors to show that the comments of Anthony Elonis would make a reasonable person feel threatened. 

Elonis, who lives in Northampton County, was prosecuted for making illegal threats after he posted Facebook rants in the form of rap lyrics about killing his estranged wife, harming law enforcement officials and shooting up a school.

He claimed the government had no right to prosecute him if he didn't actually intend his comments to be threatening to others.

But the Obama administration said the test is whether the comments would strike fear in a reasonable person.

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