Running Wolf Blog was recently threatened with being charged with a violation of Alabama Code 13A-11-8, the Harassment law. As this blog has already completely fisked the possibility of being charged under that law, we wouldn’t be Running Wolf Blog if we didn’t look into it further. After getting a hint or two from our Friendly Neighborhood Lawyer, Running Wolf Blog looked into what would be required for us to be charged with a violation of 13A-11-8.
Side note: the rest of this post will be on the assumption that Running Wolf Blog is, in fact, in violation of 13A-11-8. Running Wolf Blog categorically denies that anything this blog has published is in any way in violation of 13A-11-8. We are proceeding with the faulty assumption for the purpose of education on Alabama Criminal Procedure.
Assuming a serial twitter in Maryland did call the Huntsville Police Department and/or the Madison County Sheriff’s department (both of whom can be reached at the non-emergancy line of 256-722-7100 for Huntsville Police and 256-722-7181 for the Sheriff), what exactly would happen? In short, probably not much. I’ve heard the serial twitter from Maryland speak on blog radio, and must say given a sympathetic ear, the twitter can be quite persuasive, so this blog will assume that after making the call to the Law Enforcement Office of choice, it is possible that that the serial twitter may just convince an officer to look into it further. Here is the first roadblock along the way to the arrest of anyone at Running Wolf Blog.
13A-11-8 is a Class C Misdemeanor, and as such a police officer generally can not make an arrest based on the strength of an accusation. In Alabama, police may only arrest misdemeanor crimes if the misdemeanor is committed in their presence. There are several exceptions to this rule, as expressed in Alabama Code 15-10-3, the law that covers arrests without a warrant. One of those exceptions is misdemeanor’s that occur under 13A-11-8.
Oh no, that’s the law Running Wolf Blog is being threatened with! We better take a closer look at 15-10-3.
(8) When an offense involves domestic violence as defined by this section, and the arrest is based on probable cause, regardless of whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) ABUSE. Any offense under Sections 13A-6-60 to 13A-6-70, inclusive, or under Sections 26-15-1 to 26-15-4, inclusive.
(2) ASSAULT. Any offense under Sections 13A-6-20 to 13A-6-25, inclusive.
(3) FAMILY, HOUSEHOLD, OR DATING OR ENGAGEMENT RELATIONSHIP MEMBERS. Includes a spouse, former spouse, parent, child, or any other person related by marriage or common law marriage, a person with whom the victim has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating or engagement relationship.
(4) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Any incident resulting in the abuse, assault, harassment, or the attempt or threats thereof, between family, household, or dating or engagement relationship members.
(5) HARASSMENT. Any offense under Section 13A-11-8.
Alabama Code 15-10-3-8. Emphisis and strike through added by your host for clarity.
So an officer can make an arrest on probable cause without a warrant under 13A-11-8 if, and only if, the parties involve have a family, household, or dating or engagement relationship. Thankfully, this blog has none of those with the serial twitter from Maryland.
So if the twitter from Maryland was persuasive enough, the officer may launch an investigation, such as reading this blog. That would be great, since Running Wolf Blog believes our writing stands for itself, but assuming our Maryland based twitter was convincing enough that a dishonest police officer wanted to take the case forward, what would he do? He would present his case to a Assistant District Attorney, who would then make the decision of whether or not the case is winnable, if the witnesses are reliable, and if after everything else the ADA could present it to a judge to get a warrant. Running Wolf Blog will not speculate on the likelihood of that happening except to note some fella name’d Slim just left the room.
So exactly how would the serial twitter from Maryland file a charge under 13A-11-8? It’s really quite easy, all the twitter would have to do is go before a judge or magistrate. In the county he alleges the the crime took place. That would be Madison County, Alabama. Since this serial twitter from Maryland has already threatened a criminal charge against this blog, that must mean he doesn’t intend to violate this blog’s 6th Amendment rights, so the twitter must have already planned on making multiple trips to Alabama the Beautiful, and by multiple trips, I mean that a class c misdemeanor in Huntsville is first heard at the municipal level, and both the defense and the prosecution will get an automatic appeal to circuit court, and with delays, discovery and other pre-trial shenanigans, the serial twitter from Maryland will be spending days if not weeks visiting the beautiful countryside of the Heart of Dixie.
Assuming after his initial visit before a judge a warrant is issued and a prosecutor, after seeing the tweets issued today that confirms, to the detail, my story of yesterday, and finding out that i’ve had next to none direct communication with the serial twitter from Maryland that wasn’t initiated by that individual, decided to prosecute at all. Did I mention Slim has left the room?