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updated: 6/20/2014 5:48 PM

Appeal rejected in Geneva High School dean email threat

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  • Daniel T. Diomedes

      Daniel T. Diomedes

 
 

A former student has failed in his appeal to undo his conviction for threatening a Geneva High School dean three years ago.

Daniel T. Diomedes, 21, now of St. Charles, was sentenced in September 2012 to 30 months of probation and a year of GPS monitoring for sending an email threat to a third party, in this case an anti-bullying activist who had given a presentation at the school.

In the April 26, 2011 email, which was detailed in the appellate court ruling this week, Diomedes ranted about how he had been expelled from Geneva High School over a threat he posted on his Facebook page. Diomedes said it wasn't serious and he just wanted "someone to care."

In the email, he also complained about an alternative school he had been sent to and blamed the Geneva dean, saying she didn't do anything to stop how Diomedes was bullied at Geneva High, from students trying to hit him with their cars to shooting him with Airsoft guns.

"I just want the dean at Geneva, my grandparents and my mother dead," read part of the email. "I'm the one who has suffered my whole life, now I want them to suffer."

The activist alerted school officials, and authorities and Diomedes eventually was arrested. The dean was not injured nor attacked, and Judge James Hallock convicted Diomedes in a bench trial.

In his appeal, Diomedes' argued that the email was not authenticated during trial and even if it was, it did not contain a "true threat" and was protected by the First Amendment as free speech.

In its ruling, the appellate court panel said it was proved that Diomedes sent the email and it crossed the line.

"Defendant did more than simply express his emotions," the panel concluded.

"The email's tenor, defendant's history of making at least one prior threat and purportedly, in close temporal proximity to the email, a list of people whom he was going to kill, and the email's expression of defendant's present wish for specific individuals to die and suffer are circumstances suffer are circumstances sufficient for us to find that a reasonable sender would foresee that a reasonable recipient would view it as a serious threat to harm another," the judicial panel continued.

Diomedes could have received up to three years in prison for the felony disorderly conduct conviction. He spent 101 days in jail before posting bond.

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