Juvenile Law Center

June 22, 2004
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Opinion By: 
Mussmano, J

Juvenile’s indirect threat that specified the manner in which she would have her caseworker killed constituted a terroristic threat, and was not "spur-of-the-moment"

While waiting with a teacher/counselor from the shelter where L.A. had been placed, L.A. described a plan to kill her caseworker. At the time, L.A. was angry and concerned that she might not be able to return to her grandmother’s home. L.A.’s comments were reported to law enforcement, which filed charges. L.A. was adjudicated delinquent for making terroristic threats. She appealed her adjudication and disposition.

The Superior Court affirmed, finding sufficient evidence in the record that L.A. intended to terrorize, and that the threat was not "spur-of-the-moment." The indirect nature of the threat was inconsequential. The Court further held that it was not unreasonable for the juvenile court to commit L.A. for an indeterminate period of time as it had taken into account L.A.’s needs, holding her accountable and protecting the public.

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