Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Teen Arrested For Posting 'Threatening' Rap Lyrics On Facebook

from the 'terrorist'-gambit-fails;-adds-+20-to-Cammy-Dee's-street-cred dept

Cameron D'Ambrosio, the teen charged with "communicating terrorist threats" via some daft rap lyrics posted to his Facebook profile, is apparently no longer a threat to the people of Methuen, MA, and parts beyond. Facing a possible 20-year-sentence for his inclusion of such explosive terms as "White House," "murder charge" and "Boston bombinb" in his one-man online rap battle, D'Ambrosio has been held without bail since May 2nd. As of Thursday night, however, D'Ambrosio is free to kill terrorize rhyme again. And, as an added bonus, he now has something in common with many of the rappers he clearly aspires to be: time served.

An Essex County grand jury declined Thursday to bring an indictment against Cameron D’Ambrosio, 18, so prosecutors will formally file a motion to drop the charge of making a bomb or hijack threat, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
The D.A.'s office has declined to comment on the grand jury's decision, and D'Ambrosio and his lawyer are probably saving some choice words for a press conference. But that hasn't stopped the man behind this overreaction and the ensuing farcical approximation of criminal "justice." Here's what Police Chief Joe Solomon had to say in his press release (delivered via Facebook).
"I have just been advised of the Grand Jury decision from earlier today, where the grand jury did not issue an indictment on the high school threats case. Although we disagree with the Grand Jury's decision we respect it. Several judiciary levels have confirmed the probable cause in this case as it has worked it's way through the criminal justice system. We will continue to take all threats against our community seriously and will always utilize due diligence in our investigation."

Thank you
Chief Solomon
A few things to note:

1. Suddenly it's only a "high school threats case," rather than the much more dangerous-sounding "communicating terroristic threats."

2. Shouldn't the "probable cause" have been determined before D'Ambrosio was even arrested?

3. No one has a problem with the police taking threats "seriously." The issue here is that the police couldn't figure out when to stop treating D'Ambrosio's words as a threat. Apparently, the grand jury wasn't quite as willing as the rest of the judicial system to stretch the wording of a law pertaining to making specific threats to fit D'Ambrosio's untargeted word dump.
Matthew Segal, the legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts – who has worked on similar first amendment cases, though not this one – says it does not appear that D'Ambrosio's Facebook post rose to the level of a "true threat" warranting an investigation, which the grand jury has found as well. Segal notes that D'Ambrosio's words didn't target anybody or anything specifically, which the Methuen police have also acknowledged.
D'Ambrosio still has one more date hanging over his head -- June 27th -- during which prosecutors may decide to bring other charges. This seems unlikely considering the District Attorney's office has already announced it will not be pursuing this case further. Just in case, supporters of D'Ambrosio, led by the Center for Rights (whose Free Cameron petition gathered over 90,000 votes), will be on hand to show their support for Cameron -- and the First Amendment.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 7:59pm

    The kids rhymes were so bad, they put him in jail.
    The jury filled with poets, got him out without bail.
    This is a chilling effects cautionary tale.

    :P

     

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  2.  
    icon
    Zos (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 8:30pm

    "will not being pursuing "

    last paragraph third line

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 8:41pm

    Good to see juries pushing back against the attack dogs,

    especially those with law degrees and suits who are supposed to in turn keep the police on short leash.

    One immediate way to improve the system is for everyone charged to demand a jury trial. -- And it IS a demand, though judges will try to talk you out of it. -- Not least in traffic court by stating that you won't get a trial there, true, but if you don't demand it (and better file it in writing) even so, you're assumed to have voluntarily given up the right in the real trial de novo after you're rubber-stamped guilty in traffic court. I tell ya, the guild of lawyers are the nastiest tyrants around, know exactly what damage they do to justice. -- Anyway, that'd clog the system and force prosecutors to drop these outrages against common law and common sense.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2013 @ 8:49pm

    Probable Cause

    "2. Shouldn't the "probable cause" have been determined before D'Ambrosio was even arrested?"

    Is something missing? He did not say they did not have probable cause, he said:

    "Several judiciary levels have confirmed the probable cause in this case as it has worked it's way through the criminal justice system."

    He said their probable cause was verified.

    Now THAT'S a problem.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jun 7th, 2013 @ 9:52pm

    IMHO

    In my not-so "humble" opinion, this teenager should file a suit against the authorities for "malicious prosecution", as well as various civil rights violations. This was just totally egregious and unwarranted!

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 12:43am

    Re:

    thx. fixed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 3:54am

    Re:

    What rhymes with "ham sandwich" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re:

    Hammer switch?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Votre (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:09am

    Yet another bit of police department "wilding" gets called out for what it is.

    And once again an opportunistic lawman, who sees everything in black & white, gets his face rubbed in it and adopts a "not angry but terrible disappointed" stance in a pitifully transparent attempt to save face.

    Nice to see the citizens of Massachusetts called "bullshit" on this "case." And better yet, this time they did it through a grand jury. Which is ironic in that the entire grand jury system is heavily stacked in favor of law enforcement and their arguments.

    It's Alice's Restaurant all over again. Love it!

     

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  10.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re:

    jam sandwich

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:26am

    Poet and I know it

    Here we are in this great big land
    A jury takes a stand
    Politically correct run amuck
    Jurors said "what the fuck"
    And gave this rapper a hand

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:34am

    considering what the government has just been found out doing in regard to checking through all the communications of the people in the USA and beyond and how important that is going to be, it sort of dwarfs out this ridiculous exploit. if law enforcement haven't anything better to do, i would have thought that, rather than go after kids for doing something like this, something that means nothing, they would have been better employed, counting how lucky they are. if they want practice, i'm sure there must be the opportunity to go to different grounds where that is accomodated

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    Re:

    What happened to this kid illustrates the danger of collecting and analyzing everybody's communications. Their will be plenty of similar cases to come if everybody's actual communications are monitored. Total surveillance picks up those that are intemperate with their speech, rather than those actually planning harm to other people.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    godno1, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    You are a rhyme God,
    something that rhymes with God.

    That is all

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    will.i.am, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Re: Poet and I know it

    Damn son, you got bones.. l'e mee touch 'em.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re:

    Gonna get a ham sandwich
    onna beach it gets filled with sand which
    makes me wanna throw it in a deep ditch...

    *shrug* you didn't say it had to be good...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Rich, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:39am

    When I first read this story, I had to double check that I was in the correct country. Arrested for posting lyrics online? What the hell?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    really?

    1. the grand jury is free to consider all options in the case, and if they landed at it not rising to the level of X, they may have considered the lesser charge. Apparently it didn't make it up to that level.

    2. probably cause existed, the statement was only that it had been confirmed along the way. They agreed with the conclusion before arrest that there was probably cause.

    3. The case is borderline, but it is serious enough to merit consideration. I cannot for the life of me understand why people like you complain when the system works. Not all cases are perfect, not every potentially criminal act serious enough to merit a day in court. Why would you have a problem with that?

    The first amendment doesn't protect illegal speech, and the question asked here by authorities was very, very valid.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: really?

    *probable cause

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    Re: really?

    Oh - and there certainly is probable cause for suspecting illegal activity on the part of banksters - why are they not in jail awaiting the results of a grand jury? /rhetoric

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Gonna get a ham sandwich
    onna beach it gets filled with sand which
    makes me wanna throw it in a deep ditch...


    Somehow, the beat in that made me think of something from awhile back—
    Maggie comes fleet foot
    Face full of black soot
    Talkin’ that the heat put
    Plants in the bed but
    The phone’s tapped anyway
    Maggie says that many say
    They must bust in early May
    Orders from the D.A.
    Look out kid
    Don’t matter what you did

    You think that goes along to the same tune there?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You think that goes along to the same tune there?
    For the record I'll say it's definitely not the same tune as I don't want to fall foul of a copyright lawsuit alleging a derivative work of a song I've never heard in my life as far as I know... but use whatever tune you think fits :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Charles Grossman (profile), Jun 8th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    I hope the kid can capitalize on this publicity

    One positive thing that could come from this ridiculous arrest would be if the kid is able to use it as a kick-start to his rap career.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: really?

    I'm finding it hard to take you seriously when you don't even know what "probable" cause is.

    Also, "the first amendment doesn't protect illegal speech" is the most tautologically stupid phrase I've read today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 10:07am

    Re: really?

    In your view what is "illegal speech"?

    Did you ask people on the streets what they think "illegal speech" is?

    You be surprised with how much speech is "illegal" or should be "illegal".

    And yes the first amendment was specifically put in place to protect "illegal speech" like the seditious talk of the forefathers.

    We from time to time make some exceptions to that rule, for a variety of reasons but all fucking speech is protected by the first amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    This kid will be running into a bunch of tax payers money in the near future.

    Gotta love the cycle, the police fucks up, we pay.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: really?

    I'm finding it hard to take you seriously when you don't even know what "probable" cause is.


    For what it's worth, the old troll TAM always mixed it up as well, calling it "probably cause." I think this comment confirms that "horse with no name" likely = TAM. And, TAM = Weird Harold and a variety of other "anonymous" trolls on this site for years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Re:

    It should be taken out of their pension ... but of course that is bad because it might lead to them thinking about what it is they are doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    AnonymousHorse, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 2:42am

    Re: really?

    Stop horsing around and get to some point already.

    In the US all speech is protected including hate speech, pedo speech and a lot of others, from time to time some people believe they can make exceptions from some forms of speech, but they be wrong.

    Is not for any government to decide what is legal or illegal speech, if we go down that hole eventually your own speech will generate some kind of adverse effect that will justify being made illegal and you being punished for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Mjr_Dzaster, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Re: Probable Cause

    Yes, but if this police chief is going to make such a statement, then he should SHOW the so-called "probable cause" from the so-called "judicial levels" he speaks of rather than just spewing meaningless psudo-techno-police/law-drivel to make it sound like what he is stating is a legitimate comment, when in reality, he's just trying to cover his @$$.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Probable Cause

    "SHOW the so-called "probable cause" "

    The way I see this as having happened is that:

    1. The cops took their 'probable cause' to a judge, or maybe did some judicious judge shopping (does that qualify as a double entendre?) and got their warrant.
    2. With the warrant, they investigated and maybe arrested.
    3. Then took all that evidence to the Grand Jury.
    4. The Grand Jury could only stop laughing long enough to stamp the paperwork, no true bill.
    5. The police will take the position of all intelligence organizations and claim they do not want to give up means and methods (AKA they are too embarrassed to release what actually happened).

    Sorry to seem so pessimistic, but events appear to be heading the wrong way down a bad path.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: really?

    You get all upset for a typo, and ignore the rest of the post?

    Classic. You must be on the Techdirt payroll!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Damn blam-bitch.

    It may not make sense, but it sounds great if you say it really "street."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 1:47am

    Re: Re: Re: really?

    Classic. You must be on the Techdirt payroll!


    Also a TAM classic line... hmm...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: really?

    How ironic that you didn't even attempt to defend your laughably stupid first amendment line.

    Of course, that is because it is indefensible. TAM indeed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Neil Atlantis, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 6:52am

    you'r a poet!

    that is one of the freshest, most poetic thing I've read in year.
    And feels good to rap. You're gifted. Basically put, dope!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Neil Atlantis, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: you'r a poet! Annonymous Coward is a poet.

    AnnonymousCoward is a poet! Not the kid, he's lukewarm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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