Derek Grube has been charged with misdemeanor and felony harassment after he posted an ad on Craigslist threatening students at the University of Washington.
The post, titled “UW – 32”, begins “Dear UW Kids, Contrary to what u may believe you are not better than anyone else u are not worth more than anyone else and u certainly aren't above the rules just cuz u attend UW and others don't.”
It goes on to criticize the behavior of students who make disruptions at University libraries, and then threatens those that continue to cause disruptions there. The post continues, warning, “I swear to god if this (expletive) doesn't stop I'm just gonna start shooting you worthless (expletive) and do the world a huge favor. You've been warned.”
University Police, with the help of craigslist itself, discovered that the post was made by an iPad that accessed the Internet from the school's School of Social Work building. They found Grube in the building using an iPad, where he allegedly admitted making the posting. Along with his iPad, police also confiscated two hard drives and a cell phone from him.
According to his charging documents, Grube has only been in Seattle for a few weeks. He is being held in King County Jail and his bail has been set at $75,000.
This story brings to mind two separate avenues of analysis. First, it shows that harassment can come in many forms. Harassment can be done in person, over the phone, or even over the internet. It can come via the spoken word, a recorded voice, a written word, picture, or video. Regardless of the method of communication, harassment is harassment in Washington.
The second avenue is perhaps a bit more relevant and makes this case interesting. Under Washington law, harassment occurs when one knowingly threatens an immediate injury… and those threats create a reasonable fear in the person threatened that they will be carried out.
A quality defense attorney will look at the facts presented here and legitimately question whether Grube's post really fulfills the requirements for a harassment conviction in Washington. The statute requires that the threat put a reasonable fear in the person threatened. Here, it is unclear whether the person that reported the post to UW police was at the school or is even associated with it. Craigslist's Seattle page, after all, can be viewed from anywhere on the planet.
This case is another example of the benefits of having an experienced criminal attorney. Grube listed his address as the University Street Ministry, which serves homeless youth and young adults in and around the University District. It is likely that he is indigent and without private counsel.
An experienced attorney, such as one from the Law Office of Steve Karimi, will ensure that before you are held with excessive bail, the charges against you meet your conduct. If you have been charged with a crime in the Greater Seattle area, give him a call. He will ensure your rights are protected.