(a) Every person who knowingly and willingly threatens the life of, or threatens serious bodily harm to, any elected public official, county public defender, county clerk, exempt appointee of the Governor, judge, or Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms, or the staff, immediate family, or immediate family of the staff of any elected public official, county public defender, county clerk, exempt appointee of the Governor, judge, or Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms, with the specific intent that the statement is to be taken as a threat, and the apparent ability to carry out that threat by any means, is guilty of a public offense, punishable as follows:

(1) Upon a first conviction, the offense is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Terms Used In California Penal Code 76

  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • county: includes "city and county". See California Education Code 1012
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • knowingly: import s only a knowledge that the facts exist which bring the act or omission within the provisions of this code. See California Education Code 1012
  • Public defender: Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
  • spouse: includes "registered domestic partner" as required by Section 297. See California Education Code 1012
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories, and the words "United States" may include the district and territories. See California Education Code 1012
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.

(2) If the person has been convicted previously of violating this section, the previous conviction shall be charged in the accusatory pleading, and if the previous conviction is found to be true by the jury upon a jury trial, or by the court upon a court trial, or is admitted by the defendant, the offense is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) Any law enforcement agency that has knowledge of a violation of this section involving a constitutional officer of the state, a Member of the Legislature, or a member of the judiciary shall immediately report that information to the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Apparent ability to carry out that threat” includes the ability to fulfill the threat at some future date when the person making the threat is an incarcerated prisoner with a stated release date.

(2) “Serious bodily harm” includes serious physical injury or serious traumatic condition.

(3) “Immediate family” means a spouse, parent, or child, or anyone who has regularly resided in the household for the past six months.

(4) “Staff of a judge” means court officers and employees, including commissioners, referees, and retired judges sitting on assignment.

(5) “Threat” means a verbal or written threat or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal or written statements and conduct made with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her immediate family.

(d) As for threats against staff or immediate family of staff, the threat must relate directly to the official duties of the staff of the elected public official, county public defender, county clerk, exempt appointee of the Governor, judge, or Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms in order to constitute a public offense under this section.

(e) A threat must relate directly to the official duties of a Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms in order to constitute a public offense under this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 15, Sec. 239. (AB 109) Effective April 4, 2011. Operative October 1, 2011, by Sec. 636 of Ch. 15, as amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 39, Sec. 68.)