Shannon Badgett has been arrested for posting threats online and emailing threats to a circuit judge in another state. He is currently being held on state charges of communicating a written threat to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, but is being held in a hospital under the Baker Act which allows people with mental illnesses to be held against their will for medical reasons. We believe that he will be federally charged in the near future with making threatening communications. According to police Badgett is a retired police officer from the state of Ohio, but they did not say which agency he worked for.
According to media reports Badgett made at least three threatening statements. Two were made on Facebook and the third was emailed to a circuit judge in the state of Nevada. We have obtained copies of the first two statements and are uploading them as a PDF with this article. His first Facebook post was as follows:
"Well, unless President Trump calls for martial law, guess I'll be in D.C. Going to be a target rich environment. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew." - Shannon Badgett
The second Facebook post was as follows:
"I built a 20mm anti-tank rifle. I didn't beg for permission. I didn't read anything about 'tax stamp'. I have no idea what that is. But, I'm making WWII era sub machine guns. Why do I need 'permission' if I live in a country where I am supposedly allowed to do as I choose? Besides, our courts are unable to articulate their choice by refusing to hear any evidence regarding voter fraud. A 5yo could have pointed out the irregularities. Maybe Roberts is owned by China. If I don't see his resignation, soon. Bad things happen to good people." - Shannon Badgett
We do not have a copy of his email to the judge in Nevada, so we are unable to consider that accusation in our analysis of Badgett's statements. Of the first two statements we believe that the first one violated Title 18 United States Code Sub-section 775(c). 18 U.S.C. 875(c) reads, "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/875). This author has a unique history with 875(c) having been convicted of violating it in 2013 and being sentence to 24 months in federal prison for an email that I sent to someone in my city. The context was a little different in that that email was sent o a person that did not live far from me and implied imminent death upon that person. My exact words that violated the statute were "That's it! Now I have no choice but to go over there armed and put an end to you once and for all." My conviction was upheld on appeal and throughout that process I learned a lot about threat law. There are not many ways to criminalize pure speech, but one of them is by proving that an objectively reasonable person familiar with the context in which a statement was made would view it as an imminent threat of bodily harm. My statement met that criteria and I believe that Badgett's first statement meets that criterial because of the last part which said "Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew." I believe that an objectively reasonable person would interpret that as a threat to shoot people in a "target rich environment." Had it not been for that part I would not consider his statement to be a "true threat" under the law. Without that part one could argue that he was simply stating his opinion that Washington D.C. would be a "target rich environment." The second statement by itself is not a "true threat" under the law, but I would not be surprised if prosecutors were to bundle it with the first one and present it to a grand jury as a threat in light of the first statement. They would probably argue that due to the context in which it was made that saying "bad things happen to good people" in reference to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. after describing D.C. as a "target rich environment" and saying "Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew. Pew." would be viewed by an objectively reasonable person as a threat to shoot the Chief Justice.
We believe that the state charges against Badgett will be dismissed in favor of a federal prosecution under 875(c). That is how cases like this typically work. He has already been interviewed by the FBI and denied sending the emails to the judge in Nevada, but because this is a new case and he is already being held by the state of Florida they will probably ask the state to hold him and drag out the pretrial detention process while the FBI investigates it further. That is what happened to this author. I was held in state custody on $1,000,000 bail even though the local DA had no intention of taking that case to trial. He held me until a judge told him to take it to trial or drop it at which point he dropped it and I was arraigned in federal court. By doing that the FBI could investigate me for months without having to worry about speedy trial provisions because I had not been arraigned federally. Like Badgett, my case was better suited for federal court because I had used a mechanism of interstate commerce (the internet) to transmit my threat and the elements necessary to convict someone of making a threat in interstate commerce in federal court better matched my conduct than the crimes I was charged with in state court (coercion and computer crime). A background check of Badgett revealed nothing more than a handful of traffic infractions so he will fall lower on the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) grid than I did. Odds are that by the time the case is decided that time spent in pretrial detention will be within or might even exceed the sentencing range recommended by the USSG. According to the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) the base offense level is 12 (https://www.ussc.gov/guidelines/2018-guidelines-manual/2018-chapter-2-c), so minus any enhancements or departures his recommended sentence would be 10-16 months because his criminal history appears to be a category I (https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/guidelines-manual/2016/Sentencing_Table.pdf). In federal cases pre-trial detention typically lasts at least a year, so there is a good chance that he will have served the maximum recommended range by the time he is actually sentenced. If he pleads guilty his base offense level will be decreased by two levels for acceptance of responsibility at which point his recommended range will be 6-12 months. However, prosecutors could argue that he should receive a two point increase for making more than two threats which would offset that if the court were to erroneously conclude that the second post were a threat and if his email to the judge in Nevada also contained a true threat. If the Nevada email does not contain a threat his lawyers could argue for a 4 point decrease due to the offense being the result of a single instance with little to no deliberation at which point his recommended sentence would be 0-6 months. Prosecutors could also try filing multiple threat charges and arguing that they constituted separate criminal episodes in favor of consecutive sentences, but due to their temporal proximity that argument would be a tough sell, especially if his reported struggles with mental health are true. Then his lawyer would likely argue successfully that the threats are due to a single mental health episode and not separate criminal episodes.
Prosecutors will look at this case and realize how low on the guidelines grid he falls. They will know that even if they get the maximum that the public will view it as a slap on the wrist. This could result in bad things for Badgett. The prosecutor could decide that the only desirable outcome would be to take him to trial and try to get the judge to ignore the USSG. The USSG is purely advisory which means that technically a judge can completely disregard it and hand down any sentence that does not exceed the statutory maximum. The statutory maximum for violating 875(c) is 5 years. They would argue that the context of the threats included the Capitol Hill uprising and therefore this case falls outside anything that the USSC could have considered. They would then argue for an above the guidelines sentence to send a message to people like Badgett that threats like those will not be tolerated. I that concern in my case. My attorney said that he would be not be surprised if my judge, who was a liberal activist judge named Marco Hernandez, went above the guidelines. He didn't, but he did give me the maximum because I chose to speak the truth about the so called victim in my case when I was sentenced.
I said things like, she was stalking me, swatted my mother, etc. and that she should be the one going to prison for actually endangering people's lives rather than just verbally threatening them. The government took the position that my business model constituted extortion and that she was just the first victim to fight back. They maintained that position even after dismissing the charge related to the business model by acting as if it were uncharged criminal conduct that they only dismissed due to my plea (it wasn't and I continue to use the same business model). Still, they presented the picture that I was notorious on a national level, pissed off many people including liberal members of the news media (ex: Anderson Cooper) and Congress (ex: Joe Crowley), and that extraordinary steps needed to be taken to protect the next person that perpetrates a crime spree against me because the likelihood of someone following in her footsteps is high and the likelihood of that person getting a warning before I do something about it is low. I denied the second prong of that argument for the sake of trying to get less time, but the truth was that I was waiting for the first person to fight back, had planned to respond to that person in a way intended to scare the hell out of anyone else considered doing the same thing, and was just waiting to find proof that she broke the law before breaking it myself. That last part was based on the belief that if she told on me she would be telling on herself, but I was ignorant of certain law enforcement practices like working with provocateurs that have green lights to break the law for the purpose of motivating their target to break the law.
According to public records one Shannon Duane Badgett is 53 years old with recent addresses in Florida and old addresses in Bloomdale, Westerville, Pemberville, and Findlay, Ohio. He used to be a licensed notary in Ohio (license number 2011-RE-393097). We could not find any payment history for anyone by the name of Shannon Badgett on the GovSalaries website.
Under federal law Badgett is guilty of a felony in violation of 18 U.S.C. 875(c) for making a threatening communication in interstate commerce, but will likely receive a sentence of time served plus three years of supervised releases when the case is finally resolved. In the meantime he will likely be denied pretrial release as a danger to the community based on his threats, the case will be dragged out as long as possible, and in the end he might get an above guidelines sentence if he ends up with a liberal activist judge that wants to make an example of someone.
UPDATE: According the the video below Badgett has previously received visits from the Secret Service for making other threats.