Bad Ideas, Facebook, Free Speech, Social Media, Social Networking Websites, Technology

Former Prosecutor Allegedly Threatened His Boss on Facebook, Now Faces Criminal Charges

Why do so many people who might want to harm someone else love to post about it online ahead of time? Not only is it a dumb strategic move — it alerts others to your allegedly nefarious plans, so a potential victim can escape the situation — it also makes it infinitely easier for law enforcement to, like, arrest and prosecute you.

We’ve heard this in various forms before, in regards to a possible mall shooting and laptop thief. But you would think a former prosecutor would know better than to allegedly threaten, via Facebook, to give his boss a whuppin’…

Apparently not. A former prosecutor faces a felony charge for online postings directed at his former employer, Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood. From the Virginian-Pilot Online:

Clifton C. Hicks' epic mug shot.

Clifton C. Hicks, a former assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Norfolk, was charged Thursday with one count of posting a written threat to kill or do bodily injury to another on his personal account, court records state. Hicks, 41, was granted a $20,000 bond and released, records say.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant, one of the Facebook messages on Hicks’ page contained a threat to assault Underwood. “Underwood spoke with Norfolk investigators and indicated he took the threat to be serious,” the warrant says.

Wow. That sounds serious. But when it comes down to it, the actual posts cited by the newspaper are somewhat less intense sounding. Maybe there are more explicit comments that aren’t mentioned, but this sounds more like immature venting, like something out of the Wild One, than a threat that merits criminal charges:

The Facebook posts written on Hicks’ page, confirmed by his mother and friends, say he is “tired of being intimidated.” One post mentions “Brent and Greg” and says, “I will kick your” rear end.

Hey everybody! It’s going to be Hicks and Underwood behind the playground at 3:30! Thursday after 7th period!

Regardless, you shouldn’t go around the internet threatening to kick your boss’s, ahem, “rear end.” And Hicks may want to take a First Amendment refresher, too:

Hicks’ mother, Judy Brooks, said her son graduated from Regent University Law School and joined the Norfolk office. Hicks has not had regular work since he left the office, she said. He taught law part-time at Bryant & Stratton, she said.

Brooks said her son should not have been writing the posts.

“He was under the impression it was allowed for free speech,” said Brooks, who lives across the street from Hicks.

Fair enough, I suppose. But, on the other hand, I’m under the impression that Hicks needs a new job and a good lawyer.

Ex-Norfolk prosecutor charged over Facebook posts [Pilot Online]

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