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1530. Intent To Carry Out Threat -- Secret Service Protectees

In Roy v. United States, 416 F.2d 874 (9th Cir. 1969), the court dealt expressly with the issue of intent and held ". . . the statute to require only that the defendant intentionally make a statement, written or oral, in a context or under such circumstances wherein a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of an intention to inflict bodily harm upon or take the life of the President, and that the statement not be the result of mistake, duress, or coercion." See also United States v. Vincent, 681 F.2d 462 (6th Cir. 1982); this Manual at 1532 (Threats Against Former Presidents and Certain Other Secret Service Protectees).

While it is well settled that 18 U.S.C. § 871 requires only a showing of general intent, Roy, supra; United States v. Johnson, 14 F.3d 766, 768 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 114 S.Ct. 2751 (1994), 18 U.S.C. § 879, with substantially similar language, is subject to contrary conclusions. Section 879(a) of Title 18 has been interpreted to require a showing of specific intent. See United States v. Gordon, 974 F.2d 1110, 1117-18 (9th Cir. 1992); United States v. Kosma, 749 F.Supp 1392, 1401-02 (E.D. Pa. 1990), aff'd, 951 F.2d 549 (3d Cir. 1991) (same). In light of the April 24, 1996 amendment to 18 U.S.C. § 1114, section 115 of Title 18 may also be applicable to conduct constituting a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 879. See Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, § 727, 110 Stat. 1214, 1302.

[cited in JM 9-65.200]

Updated January 17, 2020