Tuesday, November 11, 2014

terroristic threats - out-of-state threats - jurisdiction

Commonwealth v. Vergilio – Superior Court – November 6, 2014

Pennsylvania court has juridiction over crime of terroristic threats, 18 Pa. C.S. 2706(a)(1), where the plaintiff was in Pennsylvania and heard the threats of defendant, who was in New Jersey, on the telephone.

Current technology that creates a “seemingly unlimited ability to connect people near and far.”  A contrary holding would render an offender who utters a threatening message in one state immune from suit in any and all other states to which he intentionally sends his illegal communication.

Long-standing principles in this Commonwealth hold that “[a]cts done outside a jurisdiction, but intended to produce and producing detrimental effects[7] within it, justify a state in punishing the cause of the harm. . . .”

Although our extensive research of this issue did not reveal any Pennsylvania caselaw that has addressed the specific issue presented here,8 we find the pertinent caselaw of other jurisdictions to be (citing caselaw from Kansas, Minnesota, Hawaii).