Army Sergeant Convicted Of Threatening A Judge Due To One Line In A Song

There is a very disturbing first amendment case this week in Knoxville, Tennessee where a federal jury convicted Army Sgt. Franklin Delano “Dale” Jeffries II of threatening Knox County Chancellor Michael W. Moyers. The threat came in a juvenile song that Jeffries posted — raising very serious concerns over free speech.

The jury only took two hours to convict Jeffries, 36, of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce because he put the song on the Internet. For the video, click here. Notably, Jeffries never sent the video to Moyers. Moreover, the song was only on the Internet for one day. Jeffries appears to have been convicted due to one line on one song posted for one day on the Internet. That song stated “Believe that, or I’ll come after you afterwards. If I have to kill a judge, or a lawyer, or a woman, I don’t care, because this is my daughter we’re talking about.” This line is repeated.

Jeffries was before Moyers in a visitation dispute over his daughter with his ex-wife. He could face five years in prison.

I believe the first amendment problems in this conviction undermines its basis. This is a nine-minute video of this soldier venting. If this can be treated as an interstate threat, my concern is that a wide array of speech can be criminalized. The video is disturbing and I can see why the judge felt threatened. However, it was briefly posted and the element of intent is difficult to establish. If allowed to stand, the conviction could become the foundation for attacks on free speech. Judges are public figures and criticism of their decisions is part of protected speech. We have seen increasing crackdowns on lawyers and laypersons for such criticism.

This is an important case to watch, in my view.

Source: Knox News and first seen on ABA Journal

Jonathan Turley

31 thoughts on “Army Sergeant Convicted Of Threatening A Judge Due To One Line In A Song”

  1. Mr Jeffries is a good friend of mine and would never threaten anyone but when it comes to his daughter he will do anything it’s called freedom of speech and the judge should not be charging him over a song and for those of u who want to make ignorant remarks u should feel ashamed of yourselves yes I have read the comments. and some of u just need to grow up he’s a good person and I love him like family so with that said some people need to get their shit straight just saying

  2. I would like to expand on “Bruce in Jersey” commits above. A lot of people see the video as an objective view or just as what they can only see what the video is, and that is when you only see it standing alone. You can not possibly see the subjective view until you ask me why the video was made, and the intent. What is great about my case is it will educate you in the end to finally give true understanding on what Free Speech is, and when you see the final rulings and outcomes of all the facts, you will know my case set the new standards. I would bet you will get your answer in the supreme court.

    The whole point why Free Speech came about was because the Objective View has no forgiveness, so you must understand the subjective view was the foundation that protected people back in the day. The same concept comes from the Virginia v Black case on subjective view with cross burning. Seeing only the cross burning is like watching my video. If you understood why the cross was burned and my video was made then you would understand the subjective view was free speech. And the Supreme Court has ruled on this already, but in my case the Tennessee Government has admitted they really don’t understand the supreme courts ruling with Virginia v Black.

    I will be honest. My subjective view on why I made the video is not 100% moral, but it was not against the law. Sometimes to catch a child abuser you have to set up a sting operation like they do with child molesters. The moral issue is that you have to feed into the mind of the abuser without telling them you are subjectively trying to prove they are abusing you and the child. My communication was not meant for a Judge either, and that is why my video is confusing and all over the place. This video was never even meant for you to ever see for us to even talk about why it was made. The video was originally made to show 28 of my friends and family! I told them all to “Take the Video to the Judge”! I knew they would not and question me about my motives! The only person who I did not send it to or give them a way to see the video was the only one who made a big deal out of it, because she wanted Child Custody from me. You see I did not tell my ex-wife to take the video to the Judge or want her to ever know about it! The truth is I got scared after I made the video, because you can’t make the perfect song up in your head and communicate it well when you are insane! I did not have to tell the Judge to rule in my favor or I would kill him either, because I already had child custody. The Judge was already in my favor, but my ex-wife kept me going back for 15 years now! I had other reasons you have to consider to understand my subjective views on the video. The objective view does not give you all the real facts for you to make a logical explanation.

    I am not even going to argue this point, because it is like trying to explain relativity to you! I will tell you that my ex-wife has a long history if taking my words and letters out of context, and understanding this would even give you more understanding why you must look at my subjective view. Even if it was a prank on my Family, that would be one way to look at the subjective view. It was a joke and was a comedy moment for them, not you, not the judge or my ex-wife. My perfect plan (Subjective View) was so complicated that even Free Speech was considered in my plot. I used all my education that the University of Tennessee taught me in my Journalism & Electronic Media Law class on Freedom of Speech. As a Journalist I knew what the hell I was doing to explain my relativity and understanding that I was venting out to family, not you or the Judge, so my speech was protected. 28 people sent messages telling them to take the video to the Judge was friends and family, and they did not. Only 3 of them asked me my intent, and that was the subjective view. They told me to just delete the video, and they understood the video was not a true threat. The only one I did not send the video to that made a big deal out of the video, did not ask me why I made the video and if it was a true threat! Because she had a movie to keep our child from me, and that was the only way I could say she is always taking me communications out of context to support her only objective view. Ask her the subjective views that she should have considered too, that you would question to your own blood. Your not just going to call the cops on you own child! You would question them and get to the subjective view! That is my subjective point! Just like the Child Molester: They will not see nothing but the objective view to support their evil and sin!

    Did you ever think I just made this video to define Free Speech in America and explain how my ex-wife kept taking everything I said out of context to get me in trouble to just keep keep me away from our child! Maybe I wanted to set the real Standards fro Freedom of Speech, because my Civil Rights kept being violated in my letters from my ex-wife, and she knew I had dyslexia and had a hard time writing out my meanings sometimes! Maybe I want to be apart of American History, or maybe to just prove our views are wrong in many other district courts with our First Amendment Rights? No other case has brought these issues before, except in Virginia v Black, and this case was the first one who shade light on understandings of the impotent issues that needs to be redefined in my case. We have many issues from my case that will need to be addressed. I did not know that what I did would bring so many other concerning issues that will effect your rights too, and if my case is not carefully worded in the final decisions you will not be able to vent out in anger under your breath.

    You should come to know relativity if you want to really understand what my case is about, but first you should just learn the basics on all the problems we have with what true Freedom of Speech really is in America. If you are just pleading me guilty by looking at a video I made, then you are not defending your constitutional rights that make up the over all understanding of our Freedoms! Our major argument is you have to look at the subjective view, and doing that you have to ask why? Just like another post above said no one asked me why and what my intent was! Not even a police investigation asked me, and when I got to the jury they even instructed my defense and the jury not to look or talk about my subjective intent or question why I made the video. I refused to testify, because what else can you say about a video in only the objective point view. The video looked bad alone, and it did have moral issues that some people have issues with in Religious Groups. I could not explain without giving my subjective intent and insane reasoning without all the facts. The lower court took my rights always to explain the real intent. And that is like some religious groups believe if you say something in your heart your guilty. I did not have a true intent to threaten anyone in my heart either. Some believe even if you do have a real passing thought in your head your guilty as sin! Good thing we do have a forgiving God!

    Check yourself into a mental hospital and hope the doctor remembers to make sure your letter burned during therapy, because if that objective view on the threats ever gets out of that hospital by mistake your subjective view will not matter in Tennessee. Don’t ever throw a bottle in the ocean and make a threat for therapy prepossess to vent, because your subjective view want matter in Tennessee. Don’t ever look at a child molester that raped you child and cuss under your breath that we all do in anger (called venting), because your intent or subjective view does not matter.

    Your Freedom of Speech is being attacked rather you like it or not! And remember the whole purposes for Freedom of Speech is it to show we have forgiveness in America. Freedom of Speech does show the world America has tough skin, and we will move on and forgive. We can’t just go of and fight every war over words! You have to be smart and tough to understand the other counties subjective views too, and one of them is to bring us down and out of power. True threats are hard to explain, but when you make a song up in your head and sing about your pain it’s like cussing under your breath, and the dramatization and complexity is much more confusing in todays social networking.

    My soldiers have been venting from Iraq and Afghanistan for many years now, and they subjectively make threats that are true in heart but not reasonable creditable ones, because they are just venting out their pain. If we change the law in my case, then we would have to try all your soldiers who have blogs with their subjective threats, and they will not win in Tennessee when they only look at the Objective Moral Values. Looking at your facts and pleading me guilty for just seeing my Youtube Venting Video I made, is just plain unfair and unreasonable for Americans to be undereducated on what true Freedom of Speech is really all about! You have to know all the facts to understand Freedom of Speech, and if you don’t look at my subjective view seriously then you would condemn your own American Children by ignorance! Open your mind and put your self in all our shoes who has been where I been, and that is all the education I can give you at this time. Because even I am ignorant on many issues, because of the emotional feelings being hurt in all of what we are talking about, and these issues is what makes Freedom of Speech more complicated to understand. You really do have a better chance in understanding relativity then my Freedom of Speech of understanding, because everyone has different opinions from pain.

    Just like the pain a black man who was a slave or knowing his family was one, would confuse them on their understanding of what Freedom should be in this new age! Being ignorant is being inconsiderate with all my understanding on what we all should learn what Freedom of Speech really means. If you don’t back me in my case, then you are not American or you might just be suffering from abuse, or you might have been bullied or threaten in a traumatizing way? You might just be a victim of the abuse we all have and see during are life time, that will cause us to over look the real issues of importance in my case. Freedom of Speech is going to be defined in my case, and morally we all will have to live with the outcome and our children will be ruled for evermore, because of our education or ignorance we put forth in these new ways in life.

    To be honest it seems like we all would look more into child custody cases like mine, so we all can help stop the abuse that we let go on in America. We at least need some federal laws for better visitation rights between Women and Men! Some of my subjective views has a lot going on with the political rights we have with our children, and it is done in a crazy way with my Freedom of Speech, but this is only a part of the subjective view and not the main reason I made the venting video. We all let to much abuse go on with our families in these child custody cases in this county, and I am talking about Parent Alienation we all see to keep a child from other family members? It’s not that the parent is a bad one in my case, it’s the hate and resentment that the ex-wife can not let go. If I was a bad parent then the Judge would have not giving me custody, and my two children from my wife now would be taking away from me. One wife hates me and using our child to abuse me, and this ends ups abusing the child too.

    We call this Parent Alienation. My wife I live with now has not resentments to do this to me with my two other children that live with me, so it’s abuse and I want you to understand my intention was to prove this was happening to me. My Subjective View was not to intimidate a Judge or place in fear for his life, so he would rule in my favor, but you can say that I had to show him why my wife kept bringing me back to court for all these 15 years. And it worked!

    I may have lost in this little picture, but in the big picture I will be looked at as a God, because my scheme or my subjective view in my case has real issues that define me and what I did. I had to make a difference to open the eyes of the world, because I tried every way possible, and nothing made a difference until now! I was sent to prison for 18 months, been given 3 years probation, sold to mental slavery, every email or post I make goes to my P.O., been ordered to not use social networking websites, and told I have no more Civil Rights until after probation or until I win my case. I have to submit to drug test and blood test now, my P.O. has her hand in all my affairs and Mental Heath Treatments.

    I also have been reduced to Privet in the Army, lost my Veterans Benefits, lost my 15 year old child, been given a Under Other Than Honorable Discharge in the Military, been given a felony, and now my family and I are homeless. I can’t go hunting or be around guns or even use a bow and arrow in the woods to get away and take a vacation. I can’t leave the Eastern District of Tennessee. Now, even if I do need medication and I am a Disabled Wounded War Combat Veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan; I still continue on with the big picture in my fight. In when it’s all done and said my Attorneys will talk about the abuse and destruction that my county put me through, and everything they do now to run me more down hill will just add to the benefits they will have to pay me when it’s all over. I will say my P.O. is trying to help me continue on living a normal life as I can under all what I went through and am going through now. You just don’t loss all that I have lost and just jump back on the wagon! I do find that I have to find new ways to vent and understand people again, because truth is the issue I am having right now. I am now tired of going down hill and self destructing, but I have hope. After reading this Blog about my case; I have more hope now!

    If I was going to make a truth threat or place someone in fear, then I would have had other subjective views to support the objective. Sure are a lot of other people making songs that should be convicted too, but some would love that just to get ride of “Black” Music! One of the true reasons we have Civil Rights is because these haters, and that is why we came up with the First Amendment. You see, we have to question everything when it comes to Civil Rights, and that is the Subjective Views and Objective Views that our Country first came to understood about Freedom of Speech. What do you think the first issue was when they first presented the Freedom of Speech (Bill of Rights) to congress, and why do you think most all of the ones who signed the Amendments to come in to law go murdered?

    Two reasons:

    1) “No one is going to tell me what I can say or not say” Change
    2) “You can’t talk to me like that” Hate



    The only way to understand this is examine both the subjective and objective views. You can’t just us one without the other, because it’s like seeing only the Blacks side or the White’s side! You have to see both sides!

    Like my ex-wife had her side, so how about me having a side and say too “Bruce in Jersey”!

    I, (SGT FRANKLIN DELANO JEFFRIES II), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

    Someone needs to make a movie over my story. Because I sent 800 pages and questions through my US. Senator to the Army, Veterans Affairs and Congress to answer to, and the topics will blow your mind! I guess you will have to read my book one day, I will write explaining everything in detail soon. You can read up on me by going to my websites or or

  3. The United States Marshals Service has expanded its scope and is participating in local police matters. I saw one article where they were chasing a car thief. Tying in judicial security can justify USMS becoming a national police force.

  4. Anonymously Yours 1, April 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    W=C, I think you are qualified to serve on the US Sct….. You are American….Yes….at least a naturalized citizen…. You in….don’t even have to be an attorney….really….
    I am very good at being objective….I am not so good at being disspassionate. Plus I am an admitted sucker…the world with me on the bench would become a nightmare for decent people and a playground for thugs….I’ll stick to art and nursing….if more peple practiced either one of those professions we could put lawyers and judges completely out of business 🙂

  5. Tootie: I was being facetious. Teachers do not have free speech rights to teach religious dogma in public school science classes (Edwards v. Aguillarda, 1987, creationism), (Kitzmiller v. Dover, 2005, Intelligent Design.) Actually these case were decided under the “establishment” of religion clause of the first amendment. The Bill of Rights applies to states and, yes, school boards, too.

  6. if they think he’s a threat now just wait untill he’s been in prison for a few years.

Comments are closed.