Calif Supreme Court says threats must be serious

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The California Supreme Court says state laws against threatening a crime victim or witness are valid only if a reasonable listener believes the threats are serious.

The San Francisco Chronicle says last week's unanimous decision means a Riverside County judge must re-examine the conviction of a man who told his jailed wife he would blow away the head of a man who accused them of stealing $250,000.

Eddie Lowery was convicted of threatening a crime victim and he was sentenced to a year in jail.

In its ruling Thursday, the court ruled a threat is not protected by freedom of speech if a reasonable listener concludes the speaker was serious and wasn't merely joking.

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