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Repeatedly calling 911 is not a criminal crank call when intent to annoy or harass is absent

Nov 10, 2014 Repeatedly calling 911 is not a criminal crank call when intent to annoy or harass is absent

In Virginia, repeatedly calling 911 is not a criminal crank call when intent to annoy or harass is absent. Fountain v. Virginia, ___ Va. App. __ (Nov. 4, 2014).

Police stopped Ms. Fountain for allegedly weaving in and out of her lane of car travel. She became uncomfortable about being directed anywhere but a well-lit area to stop her car. She closed her window and called 911 a few times after the officer threatened to drag her out of her car and to pepper spray her if he did not comply with her commands. She was on the phone line with 911 for over one-half hour, saying she wanted the incident recorded through the 911 recordation system.

Praised be the Virginia Court of Appeals for reversing Ms. Fountain’s misdemeanor crank call conviction, because the evidence was insufficient to prove that Ms. Fountain, in calling 911, had an "intent to annoy, harass, hinder or delay emergency personnel in the performance of their duties." Va. Code § 18.2-429. It is a shame that Ms. Fountain even got convicted at the trial level.

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