United States v. Waggy, No. 18-30171 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction under the Assimilative Crimes Act for felony telephone harassment in violation of Washington Revised Code section 9.61.230(1)(a),(b). Defendant's conviction stemmed from his repeated telephone calls to a Veterans Administration medical center.
Washington Revised Code section 9.61.230(1)(a) requires proof that the defendant specifically intended to harm the victim when initiating the call. As applied here, the panel held that the requirement ensures that defendant was convicted for his conduct, not for speech protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, the panel rejected defendant's claim that the statute violated his First Amendment rights because he just wanted to talk about his medical care and the VA's unpaid bills, and did not intend to harass or want to harass the secretary who answered the calls.