There is an interesting criminal case this week in Port St. Joe, Florida where Robert Paul Alexander Edwards, 33, is facing criminal charges for drawing a “disturbing” picture (shown below) on a student’s homework assignment. The interesting thing is that the police acknowledge that they do not believe that Edwards intended to take any violent action but they criminally charged him because the picture was “disturbing.” Of course, his mugshot shows that he is relatively indiscriminate on where he puts random pictures.
The drawing was a crudely drawn school house on fire with a person running from the flames and others standing in a line being shot (with the words “Pew, Pew, Pew” coming from the gun).
It was not revealed what the relationship was between Edwards and the student.
The lack of any evidence of intent did not appear to deter police. Sheriff Mike Harrison declared “Our country has been affected one too many times with horrific school tragedies. We take matters like this very seriously.” Accordingly, Edwards was charged with a written threat to kill or do bodily injury.
Yet, there was no indication of an intent to do violence or a directed threat other than the picture itself. The suggestion is that any violent picture constitutes a threat is an interpretation that sweeps quite broadly. Does this mean that any picture brought into a school can be the basis for a charge against a third party?
The case raises some troubling first amendment issues. I can well understand a serious call to the adult responsible and a visit from officers to determine if there was an actual threat. However, a criminal charge for a “disturbing picture” given to a child lacks a well-defined, limiting principle to protect free speech.
What do you think?
12 thoughts on “Florida Man Arrested For Drawing Violent Picture On Student’s Homework”
Florida is a scary tyrannical place to live. It scared me so much that I fled to a safer state 5 years ago… they have an insane “injustice” system. It is a police state in every sense of the word.
Many of us have had terrible expericence with corrupt Law Enforcement and Police… I think this cop would also agree with you: https://www.facebook.com/TOKmedia/videos/1998987587013143/
(Джон Марк Дуган / John Mark Dougan)
Wasn’t he the Florida guy that praised Obama as God back in a 2009 campaign rally?
Gives a whole new meaning to,
“If you see something, say something.”
Equally disturbing is all these ‘demon’ possessed adults who are procreating or who have access to innocent children.
I didn’t know being stupid was a criminal act.
Why are any parents leaving their kid in a class or a school with a teacher like this?
Did they even meet the instructor before or when the kid started this class?
To what “teacher” and “instructor” do you refer? Your reading comprehension skills are lacking, and that’s being kind.
I am not familiar with Florida case law with regard to threats but here there must be a reasonable expectation that both the suspect is capable of carrying out the threat and that the victim has a reasonable belief that he might suffer harm either presently or the future. The state mentioning they did not believe he was capable of acting on the threat here would make this effectively non-prosecutable. Hypersensitivity to something in the news is not sufficient to satisfy the elements of the threat.
On the other hand I remember the case in the mid 1990s where a fanatic, intent on disrupting the operation of an abortion clinic and to cause fear, parked a Ryder rental truck immediately in front of the facility. The significance of the threat was that the Oklahoma City Bombing recently occurred and a Ryder truck was used in that terrorist act. I fully supported this prosecution and believe it had merit.
The former: I don’t believe the state has a strong case but if it went to trial I might select a bench trial.
MS 13 supporter?
His face is his best defense. He likes to draw crazy images in odd places….
I know things have changed since I retired from teaching, however, this is not something I would panic about.
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