According to reports out of Cobb County, an employee of SunTrust Park was arrested this past week after arguing with his boss and ultimately threatening to blow up the stadium.
Jamar Golfin was arrested on felony charges of terroristic threats. Golfin was a temporary employee. His job was to clean a seating area of the stadium. He got in trouble with bosses after he apparently walked off during a break. He was asked to leave the stadium which was when he threatened to come back and blow up the place.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I will do a deep dive into the law behind the criminal offense of terroristic threats in today's post. This is not to be confused with the offense of terroristic acts in Georgia. The two are related offenses - however, they are very different laws as you will see below.
Terroristic Threats in Georgia
Terroristic threats in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-11-37(b) as:
A person commits the offense of a terroristic threat when he or she threatens to:
- Commit any crime of violence;
- Release any hazardous substance; or
- Burn or damage property.
The terroristic threat shall be made in the following circumstances: with the purpose of terrorizing another; with the purpose of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation; with the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience; or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing the terror, evacuation, or inconvenience.
In order to be found guilty of the crime of making terroristic threats, the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt just as with any other criminal offense. This can only be done by demonstrating that a threat was communicated to the victim with the intent to terrorize or the circumstances surrounding the threat were sufficient to find the threats were made for such a purpose.
A terroristic threat conviction is classified as a misdemeanor crime in the state of Georgia. Misdemeanors carry the consequences of up to one year in jail or up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
However, if the threat suggested the death of the threatened individual, such as the threat mentioned in the story above, the person convicted will be guilty of a felony and will be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000, a prison term between one and five years, or both.
The penalty will be heightened to a fine not to exceed $50,000, prison term between five and twenty years, or both if the threat is made with the intent to retaliate against any person or threaten any person from: attending a judicial or administrative proceeding as a witness, attorney, judge, clerk of court, deputy clerk of court, court reporter, community supervision officer, probation officer, or other party or producing any record, document, or another object in a judicial or official proceeding; or providing to a law enforcement officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, prosecuting attorney, or judge any information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense.
When most people think about terrorism, they are reminded of international conflict or about huge terrorism groups. The laws behind terroristic threats and acts in the state of Georgia are to protect citizens on a much more local level.
That being said the crime of terroristic threats can be used as a catchall offense. This means that police typically charge people with this offense when any threat is made, and it does not always constitute the legal meaning of the crime. If you or a loved one has been charged with making terroristic threats in the state of Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today. We can determine which defenses may be applicable to your case and determine the best course of action for you. Call now.