Senate approves Jones bill cracking down on threats to judges, police officers

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to protect judges, peace officers and their families from threats intended to affect the legal process.

“I introduced this reform after hearing from judges and law enforcement officers that they and their families were being threatened and harassed in an effort to change the outcome of a case,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “That is totally unacceptable. A cornerstone to our justice system is that we have honest and dedicated peace officers and judges who uphold the law and ensure fairness — free of intimidation or threats.”

Senate Bill 973 would amend the description of hindering, intimidating or obstructing a public officer or employee in the discharge of their duties. The bill would add threatening a public officer or a member of their immediate family to the list of prohibited behaviors and require that the intent must be to interfere with the legal process.

Actions on social media to harass, harm, intimidate or influence a public officer or a member of their immediate family would be covered under the bill.

“The attempts to harass and intimidate the judges and public officers on social media have been increasingly brutal and unsafe,” Jones said. “Public officers sign up to serve the people and some put themselves in dangerous situations on a regular basis for the good of our communities. They should never have to fear that someone might harm their family as a result of them doing their job.”