State v. Montano

In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice C. Johnson the court held that yelling at or threatening an officer who is in the process of arresting you is not, by itself, an attempt to influence that officer in the performance of his official duties.

The defendant was placed under arrest and made several angry and threatening statements to the arresting officer, such as “I know when you get off work, and I will be waiting for you.” The defendant was charged with intimidation of a public servant statute (RCW 9A.76.180) based on his threatening conduct towards the officer.

The trial court granted the defendant’s Knapstad motion and dismissed the charge. The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal, holding that the threatening conduct was an expression of anger but not an attempt to influence the officer in the performance of his official duties.

Justice J.M. Johnson writing¬†in dissent argues that a reasonable jury could have concluded that the defendant’s threats towards the arresting officer were an attempt to influence the officer into releasing him. By granting the Knapstad motion, the court was usurping the role of the jury. He would hold that crimes of intimidation can arise from threatening conduct alone.