Message Left for Ives Was Free Speech, Attorney Says

Chicago man seeks dismissal of threatening a public official charge over answering machine message left for Wheaton state representative.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives | Credit: Patch file
State Rep. Jeanne Ives | Credit: Patch file

A “we know where you live” message left for state Rep. Jeanne Ives was not a threat but the exercise of free speech in the same-sex marriage debate, Chicago resident Stephen Bona’s attorney said earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Bona, 50, was charged with a felony count of threatening a public official after the message was left, a charge his attorney, Joanie Rae Wimmer, says should be dropped, the Tribune reports.

Wilmer was in court Wednesday to dispute the charge, which was filed against Bona in March.

The Tribune reports that Bona left the following message on an answering machine at Ives’ office: “We know where you live. There is no longer an assault weapons ban. Perhaps you should think about that before you speak the next time ...”

Bona, a gay who has been in a civil union since 2011, left the message after he heard the Wheaton Republican say during a radio show that same-sex marriage is “a completely disordered relationship” and that marriage rights were being pushed by gays to “weasel their way into acceptability,” the  Tribune reports, citing court records.

  • Read more details in the  Tribune story.

A ruling on Bona’s motion to dismiss the charges is expected on Dec. 20, the  Tribune says.

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SHay December 14, 2013 at 07:24 AM
Why do people say anything and use the freedom of speech excuse. Using threatening language is not covered by any rights or laws.
Wheaton Watcher December 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM
I don't live Ives, I consider her to be a poor public official, and not a very good politician. But, I agree with Shay, this is I think specific enough to be considered a threat, and not free speech. It is different from what Palin did to Giffords in the 2008 election.
billy December 15, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Thank the laws don't require a knife be thrust into someone or a pointed firearm's discharged bullet penetrate someone to be a threat of harm. Sure a paid lawyer will dispute any law and the press will amplify anything BUT threaten language - face to face, over electronics or recorded IS a threat to do bodily harm and has been recognized since Kings and Dictators lost control.
Tom Mouhelis December 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Having been an elected official I also have received threats and you have to take them seriously. Using the free speech concept doesn't fly. You can't make implied threats without being held accountable period.
Wheaton Watcher December 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Sorry to hear that Tom. Elected officials should never have to deal with threats. Bona could have used all that negative energy and used it to organize a defeat for Ives at her reelection. The best thing about our system, is if you don't like something, you can work to get the person removed from office.
Tom Mouhelis December 15, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Thanks ww, fbi got into the cases


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