A defense attorney representing a local landscaper accused of threatening to kill members of Women's March SLO on Facebook last year is asking that the case be dismissed.
In a written request filed on May 17 in SLO County Superior Court, lawyer Jeremy Cutcher argued that his client, Daniel Joshua Phares, was incapable of carrying out a specified threat, instead characterizing Phares' alleged post as a "ranting soliloquy" made in anger and later deleted.
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- ANRGY WORDS Landscaper Daniel Phares is charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly threatening organizers of Women’s March SLO in a comment on Facebook last year. Now his lawyer is asking a SLO County judge to dismiss the case.
Phares is accused of leaving a threating message on a Facebook event page for "Outshine the Darkness," an anti-racism rally held in the wake of the deadly riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, co-organized by Women's March SLO in August 2017. According to a police report, Phares allegedly posted a comment stating "I (sic) will kill every one of you and make you like it." Organizers from Women's March SLO saw the comment and reported it to police.
Cutcher argued that post didn't meet the criteria of a criminal threat, in part, because it was made to a public Facebook page and was not addressed to any specific individuals. He wrote that the alleged threat also gave no specific date or time in which it might be carried out, and noted that Phares had no way of knowing who read his comment and had no known relationship with the individual Women's March SLO organizers named as victims in the criminal complaint filed against him.
"There is no evidence that Mr. Phares knew the names, faces of, addresses, or any other personal identifiable information of anyone associated with the Women's March of SLO," Cutcher wrote.
Cutcher also argued that Phares lacked intent to communicate a true threat. Phares reportedly told detectives that he made the comment out of "frustration and anger towards 'racists'."
"You get annoyed and you post something and you're like, 'Man, I shouldn't have posted that'," Phares allegedly told detectives. "That's why I deleted it actually."
Cutcher wrote that Phares told police that he never intended to harm anyone, and characterized his client's Facebook post as an "angry utterance/ranting soliloquy" made in frustration.
"Rather, the posting simply represented an angry, rash, and ill-advised response in an impassioned political context," Cutcher wrote.
A judge is scheduled to hear the motion to dismiss the case July 3, and Phares' trial is slated to begin Sept. 24. Δ