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State v. Taupier

Supreme Court of Connecticut

September 11, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
EDWARD TAUPIER

          Argued January 25, 2018

         Procedural History

         Amended information charging the defendant with one count each of the crimes of threatening in the first degree, threatening in the second degree, and breach of the peace in the second degree, and two counts of the crime of disorderly conduct, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford and transferred to the judicial district of Middlesex, where the court, Gold, J., denied the defendant's motion to dismiss; thereafter, the case was tried to the court, Gold, J.; judgment of guilty of one count each of the crimes of threatening in the first degree and breach of the peace in the second degree, and two counts of the crime of disorderly conduct, from which the defendant appealed. Affirmed.

          Norman A. Pattis, with whom, on the brief, was Daniel Erwin, for the appellant (defendant).

          Mitchell S. Brody, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, was Peter A. McShane, state's attorney, and Brenda L. Hans, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Palmer, McDonald, Robinson, D'Auria, Mullins, Kahn and Vertefeuille, Js. [*]

          OPINION

          ROBINSON, J.

         The principal issue in this appeal is whether the free speech provisions of the first amendment to the United States constitution[1] and article first, §§ 4, 5 and 14, of the Connecticut constitution[2] require the state to prove that a defendant has a specific intent to terrorize another person in order to sustain a conviction of threatening in the first degree under General Statutes § 53a-61aa (a) (3), [3] which criminalizes threatening speech. The defendant, Edward Taupier, sent an e-mail containing threats of violence against a judge of the Superior Court, Elizabeth A. Bozzuto, to a group of acquaintances. The defendant now appeals[4] from the judgment, rendered after a trial to the court, convicting him of threatening in the first degree in violation of § 53a-61aa (a) (3), two counts of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182 (a) (2), [5] and breach of the peace in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181 (a) (3). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the charge of threatening in the first degree under § 53a-61aa (a) (3) on the ground that the statute is unconstitutional because it did not require the state to prove that he had the specific intent to terrorize Judge Bozzuto, [6] (2) the trial court improperly considered evidence of events that occurred after he sent the threatening e-mail to support its conclusion that he violated that statute, and (3) the evidence was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he violated §§ 53a-61aa (a) (3) and 53a-182 (a) (2). We disagree with the defendant's claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The record reveals the following procedural history and facts that the trial court found or that are undisputed. In 2012, the defendant's wife, Tanya Taupier, initiated an action to dissolve their marriage. Among the contested issues was the custodial status of the couple's two minor children. In August, 2013, the trial court, Carbonneau, J., ordered that the children reside with Tanya Taupier and attend school in Ellington, where she resided.

         In the spring of 2014, Judge Bozzuto, who was responsible for managing the docket of the family court in Hartford, became involved in the defendant's dissolution proceeding. Judge Bozzuto assumed sole responsibility for the management of the case in order to ensure that it would be adjudicated in a timely manner.

         On May 23, 2014, Judge Bozzuto ordered the Family Services Unit of the Court Support Services Division (family services unit) to conduct a comprehensive custody evaluation. Shortly thereafter, the family services unit informed Judge Bozzuto that the defendant was interfering with the evaluation by injecting his personal views and opinions concerning the family court system into the process. In response, on June 18, 2014, Judge Bozzuto conducted an in-court proceeding attended by the parties. Judge Bozzuto told the defendant that he was free to express his political beliefs and views of the family court system, but ordered him to refrain from doing so during interviews conducted by the family services unit.

         On August 20, 2014, the defendant informed his wife that he had enrolled their children in school in Cromwell, where he resided, in violation of the court order that they attend school in Ellington. On August 22, 2014, counsel for Tanya Taupier sent the defendant drafts of a contempt motion and an application for an emergency ex parte order of custody that she planned to file in court. The defendant, who was representing himself in the divorce proceeding, then sought the advice of several acquaintances who had experience in family court, including Anne Stevenson and Michael Nowacki. At 11:24 p.m. that night, in response to e-mails that he had received from Stevenson, Nowacki, and Jennifer Verraneault regarding the court motions, the defendant sent an e-mail containing threatening statements toward Judge Bozzuto to Stevenson, Nowacki, Susan Skipp, Sunny Kelley, Paul Boyne, and Verraneault, all of whom had been engaged with the defendant for some time in efforts to reform the family court system. Specifically, the defendant's e-mail contained the following statements: (1) ‘‘[t]hey can steal my kids from my cold dead bleeding cordite filled fists . . . as my [sixty] round [magazine] falls to the floor and [I'm] dying as I change out to the next [thirty rounds]''; (2) ‘‘[Bo]zzuto lives in [W]atertown with her boys and [n]anny . . . there [are] 245 [yards] between her master bedroom and a cemetery that provides cover and concealment''; and (3) ‘‘a [.308 caliber rifle] at 250 [yards] with a double pane drops [one-half inch] per foot beyond the glass and loses [7 percent] of [foot pounds] of force [at] 250 [yards]-nonarmor piercing ball ammunition . . . .''[7]

         In response to the defendant's e-mail, on the morning of August 23, 2014, Nowacki sent an e-mail to the defendant stating: ‘‘Ted, [t]here are disturbing comments made in this [e-mail]. You will be well served to NOT send such communications to anyone.'' The defendant then sent another e-mail to Nowacki and Boyne in which he again suggested that he was contemplating violence against Judge Bozzuto and her family.[8] In turn, Nowacki sent the defendant an e-mail stating the following: ‘‘Violence is not a rational response to injustice. Please refrain from communicating with me if you are going to allude to violence as a response.''

         After reading the defendant's first e-mail on August 23, 2014, Verraneault immediately communicated her concern about it to several people. On the afternoon of August 27, 2014, Verraneault learned of an incident earlier in the day during which Tanya Taupier had gone with a police escort to the school in Cromwell in which the defendant had enrolled their children and removed them from the school. The defendant was present and recorded a video of the removal, while making a series of mocking comments to the police and Tanya Taupier. After learning of this incident, Verraneault feared that it might put the defendant ‘‘over the edge.'' Accordingly, despite fears that she harbored about her own safety if the defendant were to learn that she had disclosed his e-mail concerning Judge Bozzuto, on August 28, 2014, Verraneault sent a screenshot of the contents of the e-mail to an acquaintance who was an attorney, Linda Allard. After discussing the matter with Verraneault, Allard informed Judicial Branch officials and the state police about the e-mail and they, in turn, informed Judge Bozzuto.

         Judge Bozzuto testified at trial that, after she learned about the e-mail, ‘‘every night when I [got] home . . . as soon as . . . I pull[ed] up to the driveway and pull[ed] in . . . every time I [got] out of that car I look[ed] up on the hill in the back where all the brush and trees are and [thought] of only [the defendant]. . . . [T]hose bumps in the night, it's when the dogs start[ed] barking in the middle of the night and the first thing that [came] to my mind [was the defendant].'' As a result of the e-mail, she ‘‘did a massive upgrade of security at the house, installing cameras and lights.'' Judge Bozzuto also provided her children's school with a mug shot of the defendant and put school officials on alert. State police surveilled her house for a week or two after Judge Bozzuto learned about the e-mail, and judicial marshals escorted her from her office to her car in the evening. Judge Bozzuto also contacted a sister whose daughter was taking care of Judge Bozzuto's dogs, and told her not to let her daughter go to Judge Bozzuto's residence without a police escort.

         The defendant was arrested in connection with his first e-mail and ultimately was charged with threatening in the first degree in violation of § 53a-61aa (a) (3); threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53a-62 (a) (3); two counts of disorderly conduct in violation of § 53a-182 (a) (2), one of which alleged that he caused inconvenience, annoyance and alarm to Judge Bozzuto, and one of which alleged that he caused inconvenience, annoyance and alarm to Verraneault; and breach of the peace in violation of § 53a-181 (a) (3).[9]

         Before trial, the defendant moved to dismiss all of the charges. With respect to the threatening charges, the defendant contended that the e-mail did not contain speech that was punishable under the first amendment because the threat was not ‘‘so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to the person threatened, as to convey a gravity of purpose and imminent prospect of execution . . . .'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Krijger, 313 Conn. 434, 450, 97 A.3d 946 (2014). In addition, the defendant argued that the threatening charges ‘‘fail because the [d]efendant did not communicate the threat to the intended victim.'' In support of this claim, the defendant cited State v. Kenney, 53 Conn.App. 305, 323, 730 A.2d 119, cert. denied, 249 Conn. 930, 733 A.2d 851 (1999), for the proposition that ‘‘[a] threat imports the expectation of bodily harm, thereby inducing fear and apprehension in the person threatened.'' (Emphasis added; internal quotation marks omitted.) The trial court, Gold, J., [10]summarily denied the motion to dismiss, and the case was tried to the court.

         After the trial, the defendant filed another motion to dismiss the charges, claiming that the threatening statutes under which he had been charged were unconstitutional because they required the state to prove only that his conduct in sending the e-mail was in reckless disregard of causing terror to another person; see General Statutes § 53a-61aa (a) (3) and General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53a-62 (a) (3); when, according to the defendant, the first amendment requires proof of specific intent to terrorize another person. The defendant pointed out that, although this court in State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 450, had applied an objective foresee-ability standard to determine whether the defendant had made a ‘‘true threat'' that may be subject to punishment under the first amendment, we had expressly declined to consider whether the first amendment required proof of a specific intent because the defendant in Krijger had raised no such claim and, in any event, he could prevail even under the objective standard.

         Relying on Justice Alito's concurring opinion in Elonis v. United States, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2001, 2016-17, 192 L.Ed.2d 1 (2015), the trial court concluded that the state was constitutionally required to prove that the defendant acted recklessly, that is, that the defendant subjectively knew that there was a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his threatening speech would terrorize the target of the threat, and that he acted in conscious disregard of that risk. See General Statutes § 53a-3 (13).[11] Accordingly, the trial court concluded that § 53a-61aa (a) (3), which requires proof of recklessness, was not unconstitutional and denied the defendant's motion to dismiss.

         Thereafter, the trial court found the defendant guilty of threatening in the first degree, two counts of disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace in the second degree. In its memorandum of decision, the trial court considered separately the questions of whether (1) the language of the defendant's e-mail constituted a true threat that constitutionally could be punished, and (2) the defendant had knowingly disregarded the risk that the e-mail would cause Judge Bozzuto to be terrorized. With respect to the first issue, the trial court observed that, under State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 450, threatening speech constitutionally may be punished when ‘‘a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of intent to harm or assault.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) The trial court ultimately concluded that ‘‘a reasonable person not only could foresee, but readily would foresee, that the language in the [defendant's] e-mail would be interpreted by those to whom it was communicated as a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of violence [against] Judge Bozzuto . . . .'' In support of this conclusion, the trial court relied on the e-mail's extremely detailed and specific description of the threatened assault on Judge Bozzuto, the prior relationship between the parties, the circumstances immediately preceding the e-mail, and the fact that firearms that could enable the defendant to carry out his threat were seized from the defendant's residence approximately one week after he sent the e-mail.

         The trial court then addressed the question of whether the state had proved the elements of threatening in the second degree in violation of § 53a-62 (a) (3). The trial court disagreed with the defendant's claims that the state had failed to prove that he acted recklessly because ‘‘(1) he did not send the e-mail directly to Judge Bozzuto, and (2) those to whom he did send it were seen by him as ‘like-minded individuals' who understood and shared his frustration with the family court system.'' The trial court found that, to the contrary, the evidence ‘‘fully support[ed] the reasonable inference that the defendant knew that his e-mail would be seen as a serious expression of his intentions, and was aware of and consciously disregarded the substantial and unjustifiable risk that, as a result, it would be disclosed to others and cause terror to Judge Bozzuto.'' To support this conclusion, the trial court again relied on the words used in the e-mail, the history between the parties, and the reactions of Nowacki and Verraneault. In addition, the trial court relied on the fact that, upon being admonished by Nowacki for sending the e-mail, the defendant expressed no surprise that Nowacki had interpreted the e-mail as a serious threat of violence and made no attempt to clarify his intent or retract the threat. Rather, the defendant validated Nowacki's interpretation by sending another e-mail reasserting the threat to Judge Bozzuto and, for the first time, threatening her children. Accordingly, the trial court found that the state had established the elements of threatening in the second degree.

         The trial court then noted that, with regard to the charge of threatening in the first degree in violation of § 53a-61aa (a) (3), the state was required to prove that the defendant had committed threatening in the second degree and, in committing that offense, had represented by his words that he possessed a firearm. The trial court concluded that the defendant's reference in the e-mail to the .308 caliber rifle satisfied that element. Accordingly, the trial court found the defendant guilty of threatening in the first degree.

         Turning to the other charges, the trial court concluded that the state had established the elements of disorderly conduct toward Judge Bozzuto and Verraneault. With respect to the count involving disorderly conduct toward Verraneault, the trial court concluded that the defendant ‘‘was aware that she would view [the e-mail] as a serious expression of [the defendant's] intent to shoot Judge Bozzuto, and that . . . Verraneault would be disturbed and filled with anxiety as a result of that threatened harm.'' Finally, the trial court concluded that the state had proven the elements of breach of the peace in the second degree. Accordingly, the trial court found the defendant guilty on both counts of disorderly conduct and of breach of the peace in the second degree. The trial court then rendered a judgment of conviction in accordance with its findings and sentenced the defendant to a total effective sentence of five years imprisonment, execution suspended after eighteen months, and five years probation with special conditions on the charge of threatening in the first degree. This appeal followed. See footnote 4 of this opinion.

         On appeal, the defendant first challenges the constitutionality of § 53a-61aa (a) (3) under the free speech provisions of the first amendment to the federal constitution and article first, §§ 4, 5 and 14, of the Connecticut constitution on the grounds that (1) the statute does not require the state to prove that an individual who engaged in threatening speech had the specific intent to terrorize the target of the threat, and (2) even if the statute is constitutional as applied to threatening speech directed at a private individual, proof of specific intent is required when the speech is directed at a public official. He next claims that the trial court improperly considered evidence of certain events, namely, the seizure of firearms from his residence one week after he sent the e-mail concerning Judge Bozzuto, and his second e-mail to Nowacki, in which he again threatened Judge Bozzuto and her family, to support its conclusion that his e-mail was a punishable true threat. Finally, the defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he violated § 53a-61aa (a) (3) by sending the e-mail or that he violated § 53a-182 (a) (2) by engaging in disorderly conduct toward Verraneault. We address each of these claims in turn.

         I

         FREE SPEECH CLAIMS

         We first address the defendant's claims that § 53a-61aa (a) (3) is unconstitutional under the free speech provisions of the first amendment to the United States constitution, and article first, §§ 4, 5 and 14, of the Connecticut constitution because the statute does not require the state to prove that the person who engaged in the threatening speech had the specific intent to terrorize the target of the threat.[12] We conclude in part I A of this opinion that the statutory recklessness standard is constitutional under the first amendment when threatening speech is directed at a private individual. In part I B of this opinion, we conclude that the statutory recklessness standard is also constitutional under the free speech provisions of the state constitution. In part I C of this opinion, we consider and reject the defendant's suggestion that a higher mens rea standard is required under both the federal and state constitutions when threatening speech is directed at a public official.[13]

         We begin by noting the well established principle that determining the constitutionality of a statute presents a question of law subject to plenary review. See, e.g., Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, 289 Conn. 135, 155, 957 A.2d 407 (2008).

         A

         We first address the defendant's claim that the first amendment required the state to prove that he had the specific intent to terrorize Judge Bozzuto before he could be punished for the threatening speech in his e-mail.[14] As we have explained, in this part of our opinion, we limit our consideration to the federal constitutional standard for threatening speech directed at a private individual. We disagree with the defendant's claim.

         We begin with a review of the first amendment principles applicable to statutes that criminalize threatening speech. ‘‘The [f]irst [a]mendment, applicable to the [s]tates through the [f]ourteenth [a]mendment, provides that Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. The hallmark of the protection of free speech is to allow free trade [of] ideas-even ideas that the overwhelming majority of people might find distasteful or discomforting. . . . Thus, the [f]irst [a]mendment ordinarily denies a [s]tate the power to prohibit dissemination of social, economic and political doctrine [that] a vast majority of its citizens believes to be false and fraught with evil consequence. . . .

         ‘‘The protections afforded by the [f]irst [a]mendment, however, are not absolute, and we have long recognized that the government may regulate certain categories of expression consistent with the [c]onstitution. . . . The [f]irst [a]mendment permits restrictions [on] the content of speech in a few limited areas, which are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality. . . .

         ‘‘Thus, for example, a [s]tate may punish those words [that] by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. . . . Furthermore, the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a [s]tate to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except [when] such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. . . . [T]he [f]irst [a]mendment also permits a [s]tate to ban a true threat. . . .

         ‘‘True threats encompass those statements [through which] the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals. . . . The speaker need not actually intend to carry out the threat. Rather, a prohibition on true threats protect[s] individuals from the fear of violence and from the disruption that fear engenders, in addition to protecting people from the possibility that the threatened violence will occur. . . .

         ‘‘Thus, we must distinguish between true threats, which, because of their lack of communicative value, are not protected by the first amendment, and those statements that seek to communicate a belief or idea, such as political hyperbole or a mere joke, which are protected.'' (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 448-50.

         Until 2003, the objective foreseeability test, under which the state must prove that a reasonable person would interpret the defendant's threatening speech as a serious threat before the defendant may be punished for the speech, was universally acknowledged by federal courts as the proper constitutional standard for identifying punishable true threats under the first amendment. See Doe v. Pulaski County Special School District, 306 F.3d 616, 622 (8th Cir. 2002) (‘‘[a]ll the [federal circuit courts of appeals] to have reached the issue have consistently adopted an objective test that focuses on whether a reasonable person would interpret the purported threat as a serious expression of an intent to cause a present or future harm''); see also State v. DeLoreto, 265 Conn. 145, 156, 827 A.2d 671 (2003) (under federal constitution, ‘‘[w]hether a particular statement may properly be considered to be a threat is governed by an objective standard-whether a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of intent to harm or assault'' [internal quotation marks omitted]).

         As we recognized in State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 451-52 n.10, however, this general consensus was shaken by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343, 123 S.Ct. 1536, 155 L.Ed.2d 535 (2003), which led to a split in authority among the federal circuit courts of appeals about whether the true threats doctrine requires proof of subjective intent to intimidate the recipient of the threat or, instead, requires proof of objective foreseeability. In Black, the court considered the constitutionality of a Virginia statute providing in relevant part that ‘‘[i]t shall be unlawful for any person or persons, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, to burn, or cause to be burned, a cross on the property of another, a highway or other public place.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 348. In an opinion authored by Justice O'Connor, a majority of the court observed that ‘‘ ‘[t]rue threats' encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.'' Id., 359. The majority further observed that ‘‘[i]ntimidation in the constitutionally proscribable sense of the word is a type of true threat, where a speaker directs a threat to a person or group of persons with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death.'' Id., 360. Accordingly, the majority concluded that ‘‘[t]he [f]irst [a]mendment permits Virginia to outlaw cross burnings done with the intent to intimidate . . . .'' Id., 363.

         A plurality of the court also held, however, that a provision of the Virginia statute stating that ‘‘[a]ny such burning of a cross shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to intimidate a person or group of persons'' was unconstitutional on its face because it did not differentiate between cross burnings that were intended to intimidate and other cross burnings and, therefore, ‘‘would create an unacceptable risk of the suppression of ideas.''[15] (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 363-66; see also id., 367 (provision ‘‘ignore[d] all of the contextual factors that are necessary to decide whether a particular cross burning is intended to intimidate'' [emphasis added]).

         As we observed in State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 451-52 n.10, several courts have concluded that the statement of the majority in Virginia v. Black, supra, 538 U.S. 360, that ‘‘a threat to a person or group of persons with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death'' constitutes a true threat as well as the statement of the plurality suggesting that the finder of fact must determine whether the defendant ‘‘intended to intimidate''; id., 367; show that the Supreme Court intended to adopt a specific intent standard.[16] Most of the courts that have addressed the issue, however, have held that Black did not overrule the objective foreseeability standard.[17] Several of these courts have reasoned that, although the court's statements in Black indicate that a speaker who has the specific intent to intimidate constitutionally may be punished for his speech, they do not support the proposition a speaker constitutionally may be punished only when he has a specific intent to intimidate. See United States v. Martinez, 736 F.3d 981, 987 (11th Cir. 2013) (under Black, ‘‘intimidation is but one type of true threat, '' and court did not intend to require specific intent to intimidate for all true threats), vacated on other grounds, U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2798, 192 L.Ed.2d 842 (2015); United States v. Jeffries, 692 F.3d 473, 480 (6th Cir. 2012) (stating that court in Black merely observed ‘‘that intimidation is one type of true threat'' [emphasis in original; internal quotation marks omitted]), cert. denied, 571 U.S. 817, 134 S.Ct. 59, 187 L.Ed.2d 25 (2013); People v. Stanley, 170 P.3d 782, 789 (Colo.App. 2007) (stating that court in Black merely defined intimidation as one type of true threat), cert. denied, Colorado Supreme Court, Docket No. 07SC575 (November 19, 2007), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 1297, 128 S.Ct. 1750, 170 L.Ed.2d 541 (2008).

         Several courts have also concluded that the plurality in Black held that the prima facie evidence provision of the cross burning statute was unconstitutional because the plurality was concerned that cross burning could be punished under that provision even when it was not reasonably foreseeable that anyone would be intimidated or terrorized, not because the statute failed to require proof of specific intent. Thus, these courts have reasoned, the plurality in Black was focused more on the Virginia cross burning statute's failure to differentiate between different levels of intent than on the specific mens rea that is constitutionally required before a person may be punished for threatening speech. See United States v. Martinez, supra, 736 F.3d 986-87 (‘‘Black was primarily a case about the over-breadth of a specific statute-not whether all threats are determined by a subjective or objective analysis in the abstract''); United States v. Jeffries, supra, 692 F.3d 479-80 (Black ‘‘did not turn on subjective versus objective standards for construing threats. It turned on over-breadth-that the statute lacked any standard at all.''); United States v. White, 670 F.3d 498, 511 (4th Cir. 2012) (‘‘[w]hile the Black discussion was . . . concerned with the fact that criminalizing cross burning without proof of any intent to intimidate would be unconstitutional, the [c]ourt did not engage in any discussion that proving true threats . . . required a subjective, rather than objective, analysis'' [emphasis in original]); United States v. Mabie, 63 F.3d 322');">663 F.3d 322, 332 (8th Cir. 2011) (‘‘Black . . . did not hold that the speaker's subjective intent to intimidate or threaten is required in order for a communication to constitute a true threat. Rather, the [c]ourt determined that the statute at issue in Black was unconstitutional because the intent element that was included in the statute was effectively eliminated by the statute's provision rendering any burning of a cross on the property of another prima facie evidence of an intent to intimidate.'').

         Finally, one state court that has rejected the claim that Black adopted a subjective intent requirement reasoned that the purpose underlying the true threats doctrine, namely, protecting the targets of threats from the fear of violence, would not be ‘‘served by hinging constitutionality on the speaker's subjective intent . . . .'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) People v. Stanley, supra, 170 P.3d 789, quoting Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, 290 F.3d 1058, 1076 (9th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 539 U.S. 958, 123 S.Ct. 2637, 156 L.Ed.2d 655 (2003).

         We are persuaded by the reasoning of the courts that have concluded that Black did not adopt a subjective intent standard. Indeed, nothing in Black itself suggests that the court intended to overrule the preexisting consensus among the federal circuit courts of appeals that threatening speech may be punished under the first amendment when a reasonable person would interpret the speech as a serious threat. We also note that, in State v. DeLoreto, supra, 265 Conn. 154, this court cited Black, and we did not suggest that the decision had affected the objective foreseeability test in any way. Accordingly, we conclude that the first amendment does not require the state to prove that the defendant had the specific intent to terrorize Judge Bozzuto before he could be punished for his threatening speech.

         Having rejected the defendant's claim that the first amendment requires proof of a subjective intent, we need not determine whether the objective foreseeability standard, which requires the state to prove that ‘‘an objective listener would readily interpret the [threatening] statement as a real or true threat''; State v. Krijger, supra, 313 Conn. 460; but which does not require the state to prove that the defendant subjectively knew that the threat would be interpreted as a serious one, satisfies the first amendment. Even if we were to assume that proof of subjective knowledge is constitutionally required, § 53a-61aa (a) (3) satisfies that requirement because it requires the state to prove the element of reckless disregard, namely, that the defendant violated § 53a-62 (a) (3) by ‘‘threaten[ing] to commit [a] crime of violence in reckless disregard of the risk of causing . . . terror'' to another person. Put another way, the state must show that the defendant was aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the target of the threat would be terrorized. See General Statutes § 53a-3 (13). We conclude, therefore, that § 53a-61aa (a) (3) is constitutional under the first amendment as applied to threatening speech directed at a private individual.

         B

         We next address the defendant's claim that the free speech provisions of article first, § 4, 5 and 14, of the Connecticut constitution provide greater protection than does the first amendment, and require the state to prove that an individual had the specific intent to terrorize the target of the threat before that person may be punished for threatening speech directed at a private individual. Specifically, the defendant relies on this court's statement in State v. Linares, 232 Conn. 345, 380, 655 A.2d 737 (1995), that the state constitution ‘‘bestows greater expressive rights on the public than that afforded by the federal constitution.'' Accord Leydon v. Greenwich, 257 Conn. 318, 349, 777 A.2d 552 (2001). We again disagree and conclude that the Connecticut constitution does not require the state to prove that a defendant had the specific intent to terrorize the target of the threat before that person may be punished for threatening speech directed at a private individual.

         ‘‘[I]n determining the contours of the protections provided by our state constitution, we employ a multifactor approach that we first adopted in [State v.Geisler, 222 Conn. 672, 685, 610 A.2d 1225 (1992)]. The factors that we consider are (1) the text of the relevant constitutional provisions; (2) related Connecticut precedents; (3) persuasive federal precedents; (4) persuasive precedents of other state courts; (5) historical insights into the intent of [the] constitutional [framers]; and (6) contemporary understandings of applicable economic and sociological norms [otherwise described as public policies]. . . . We have noted, however, that these factors may be ...


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