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Calif. Ruling On Verbal Threats May Free Riverside County Man

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RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A Riverside County judge may be forced to revisit an old case after a California Supreme Court ruling on whether someone can be imprisoned for making verbal threats.

Eddie Lowery was arrested after he told his incarcerated wife he would shoot a man who accused the couple of stealing $250,000.

Lowery was convicted of threatening a crime victim and sentenced to a one year in prison, according to the Associated Press.

The California Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that a verbal threat is not protected by free speech if a reasonable listener concludes the threat was made in earnest.

In the decision, Justice Joyce Kennard said the threat could be perceived as legitimate “even if the person had no intention of carrying out the threat”.

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