Local News

Message to Raleigh mayor wasn't a threat, attorney says

Posted May 6

Alec Dane Redner appears in a Wake County courtroom March 3, 2014, for a bond hearing on charges that he threatened Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

— A man facing a federal charge for allegedly threatening Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has asked a judge to drop the case.

Alec Dane Redner's attorney, John Wiles, filed the motion to dismiss Monday, saying that prosecuting Redner violates his First Amendment protection of political speech because his statement to the mayor was not a "true threat" of violence.

Redner was indicted March 17 on a charge of communicating a threat against an individual for allegedly sending McFarlane a message through her website. According to police, Redner told her to "watch out" and that she would soon be "on the other end of the barrel."

But Wiles argues in the motion that Redner was warning McFarlane that if she continued "'mak[ing] a joke of the U.S. Constitution,' she 'soon …will' make such jokes 'at the other end of a barrel,' and that she should 'watch out.'"

"Nowhere does the communication say or suggest that its sender personally stands behind the
communication as a, much less as the, potential future actor to cause the recipient to be on the
'other end of the barrel,'" according to the motion. "It does not express the sender's serious expression of intent to do harm to Mayor McFarlane. It does not even express a serious desire that someone else do harm to Mayor McFarlane."

The filing cites a 1966 case having to do with a statement a man made about shooting then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the man's conviction after finding that the statement was political hyperbole and was not "communicating a serious expression of intent to commit an act of unlawful violence."

After Redner's federal indictment, Wake County prosecutors dropped state charges of communicating threats and threatening an executive, legal or court officer.

Also dropped was an obstruction of justice charge stemming from allegations that the 27-year-old sent his mother a letter from jail instructing her to destroy a laptop that he said he hid in her home.

13 Comments

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  • carolinarox May 7, 4:11 p.m.

    All the constitutional experts need to look again. Threats like this are not protected speech.... View More

    — Posted by kdubyab

    I agree with you 100%. The people that are sticking up for him are only look at this situation... View More

    — Posted by michaelclay

    When you CHOOSE to be in the public spotlight and represent a people, YOU must acclimate... View More

    — Posted by gvmntcheese

    Most of us write a letter to the editor, run for office or volunteer for causes we are passionate about. We don't tell those we disagree with that they will be on the other end of a barrel. He didn't list his grievances with the mayor or offer any ideas or solutions of his own. His arrest history indicates he never stands up behind his actions, but runs away. Not exactly what I call an upstanding citizen.

  • gvmntcheese May 7, 1:28 p.m.

    All the constitutional experts need to look again. Threats like this are not protected speech.... View More

    — Posted by kdubyab

    I agree with you 100%. The people that are sticking up for him are only look at this situation... View More

    — Posted by michaelclay

    When you CHOOSE to be in the public spotlight and represent a people, YOU must acclimate yourself to differing viewpoints. Some people are passionate about rights and liberties. Some people CHOOSE to take them seriously. This man abviously cares about his rights and chose to let his elected official know where he stands. His reminder to the mayor is all that it was, a reminder!

  • michaelclay May 7, 1:18 p.m.

    All the constitutional experts need to look again. Threats like this are not protected speech.... View More

    — Posted by kdubyab

    I agree with you 100%. The people that are sticking up for him are only look at this situation politically. If they would look at it human being to human being I think that they would see it differently.

  • kdubyab May 7, 12:45 p.m.

    All the constitutional experts need to look again. Threats like this are not protected speech. Never have been. What if our mayor was your daughter or sister? Would you still be sticking up for this felon?

  • less_govt_is_better_govt May 7, 12:13 p.m.

    Typical case of wake county LEOs throwing out false and baseless charges because they can do so without consequences.

    I have witnessed how the Constitution is routinely violated in wake county (previous DA would prosecute the accused on falsified incident reports)

    Let the man go and if anything require physic exam. Oh and tell the chicken little Raleigh mayor to get some thicker skin. She would never make it in the real world where citizens have to live (the peasants below her who vote her in and give her power)

  • tllight May 7, 10:20 a.m.

    It's free speech , he should not be charged under the First Amendment , this case is a waste of taxpayers money.

  • Super Hans May 7, 9:38 a.m.

    I'm not sure why my post wasn't accepted. The defense has a very good case. That is why he needs to be labeled a terrorist and tossed in jail for the rest of his life. We can do that without charges of any sort. What is he if not a terrorist?

  • ligonmaterial23 May 7, 9:29 a.m.

    Of course it was a threat , but it was made by a loud mouth wanna be but now that he is in the hot seat they can say oh its not what he meant , It will be very interesting to see how this turns out . Definition of back peddling ^ this guy

  • kdubyab May 7, 9:10 a.m.

    He is a convicted felon who did prison time. He was also convicted in the past for misd assault on an officer/st employee. At some point he fled to allude arrest which led to discovery by police of a loaded shotgun in the trunk, an AR-15 and handgun at the big north Raleigh home along with anti-government and Aryan Nation literature. Cheahh no threat at all to our mayor. But family money will probably help him skate on the consequences and he'll make headlines again soon.

  • gvmntcheese May 7, 8:24 a.m.

    There is no argument. If free speech is all it takes to get the red and white jump suit, we are in far worse trouble as a people and as a state. If you cant tell the difference between a direct threat and a word of caution, I suggest a refresher english sit in with your local high school is in order instead of infringing on the rights of a citizen. For shame!

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