LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A man named Steve Feeder is facing charges after writing multiple threatening posts on Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s official Facebook page.
According to the complaint, Feeder posted the same message 34 times between May 2 and May 22, 2020.
In the message, Feeder called Sisolak a tyrant and accused the governor of declaring “WAR” on the people.
The message also said that “we need to arm ourselves and form a militia and fight back.”
In addition, the complaint says that Feeder encouraged readers to “fight back with civil disobedience” in other comments.
The complaint says Feeder indicated in June that he intended to use the First Amendment as his defense.
The complaint then gives several examples where it was proven that the First Amendment persist restrictions upon the content of speech in a few limited areas.
For example, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of United States v. Wheeler that “[T]he line between threats and incitement, especially in cyberspace, is not as clear as [one may] contend” and “[a]llowing defendants to seek refuge in the First Amendment simply by phrasing threats as exhortations would … leave the state powerless against in the ingenuity of threateners.”
Additionally, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained:
Several attributes of the Internet substantially amplify the fear that an individual can instill via threats or incitement. Such threats have the ability to reach a vast audience — far more than the traditional speaker or author published in a single venue. The threats may often come cloaked in anonymity, allowing authors to make menacing statements they would never consider making to an individual in person.
Feeder’s preliminary hearing took place in October.
During the hearing, an officer with the Nevada Department of Public Safety described the investigation into the Facebook posts and his encounter with Feeder.
It was also revealed that Feeder turned down a plea deal which would have meant that he agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor, accept a 120-day suspended sentence, stay out of trouble for 6 months and pay a $1,000 fine.
Feeder is scheduled to go to trial on June 14, 2021.