Maryland Prosecutors Asking Legislators To Criminalize Making Of Mass Threats | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Maryland Prosecutors Asking Legislators To Criminalize Making Of Mass Threats

Play associated audio

Prosecutors in Maryland are asking the General Assembly to approve a bill that would create penalties for people who threaten to commit acts of mass violence.

Prince George's County state's attorney Angela Alsobrooks says Maryland is one of just a few states where a "legal loophole" exists making it impossible for prosecutors to punish people making the threats.

"Where individuals call in a threat, saying 'I'm going to kill everyone in the place,' and that's not a crime in Maryland. It is a crime to say 'I'll burn down the building,' but if you say 'I will instead shoot up everyone in the building,' we do not have a law that covers that," she explains.

Prince George's County has seen two high profile cases where such threats have been made. In one, a man threatened a shooting spree at his Lanham workplace, while the other occurred when a University of Maryland student allegedly plotted a shooting on the College Park campus. In the first case the man was only charged with misuse of a telephone, while in the second the student faced misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and computer misuse.

The bill, which would make such threats punishable by a 10-year jail sentence and hefty fines, has failed before in Annapolis, but Alsobrooks believes tweaks made this year will ensure that only serious mass threats are punished.

"Five or more individuals have to be affected. We're not talking about neighbors disputing or domestic cases, which are covered under current assault laws. We're talking about massive threats."

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee must approve the bill first before it can head to the full Senate floor for a vote.

NPR

Impressionist Hero Édouard Manet Gets The Star Treatment In Los Angeles

Manet was not himself an Impressionist, but he mightily influenced the movement. Two of his paintings are now in L.A. The Railway is making its West Coast debut, and Spring just sold for $65 million.
NPR

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.
WAMU 88.5

Paycheck Politics And The Homeland Security Bill

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is blasting Republicans who claim that the department's workers can weather a temporary shutdown if Congress can't finish legislation to fund the department by the end of Friday.

NPR

Fines Remain Rare Even As Health Data Breaches Multiply

Since 2009, a federal watchdog has levied only 22 penalties against health care organizations for failing to safeguard information about patients.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.