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Elonis v. United States

Docket No.: 13-983
Argued: December 1, 2014
Decided: 6/01/15


First Amendment, antitrust, death penalty, harmless-error, murder, property rights, willfulness

PartyNames: Anthony Douglas Elonis v. United States
Petitioner: Anthony Douglas Elonis
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Citation: 730 F.3d 321
Supreme Court Docket

Anthony Douglas Elonis
United States

It is a federal crime to "transmit[] in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing * * * any threat to injure the person of another," 18 U.S.C. 875(c). Numerous states have adopted analogous crimes.

Question Presented:

Whether, consistent with the First Amendment and Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2003), conviction of threatening another person requires proof of the defendant's subjective intent to threaten, as required by the Ninth Circuit and the supreme courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont; or whether it is enough to show that a "reasonable person" would regard the statement as threatening, as held by other federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort.


IN ADDITION TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE PETITION, THE PARTIES ARE DIRECTED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: "Whether, as a matter of statutory interpretation, conviction of threatening another person under 18 U.S.C. $875(c) requires proof of the defendant's subjective intent to threaten." CERT. GRANTED 6/16/201413-983 ELONIS V. UNITED STATES

Elonis v. United States

December 1, 2014

Listen to Oral Argument in Elonis v. United States
Vote: 7-2
Majority: Judgment Reversed, Chief Justice Case Remanded. Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan
Concurring: Alito
Dissenting: Alito,Thomas

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Elonis v. United States
Case Documents

1ELONIS v. UNITED STATES Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
2Slip Opinion in ELONIS v. UNITED STATES (Opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.)
3ELONIS v. UNITED STATES Oral Argument Audio