DuPage Judge Blanche Hill Fawell Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss charges against Chicago resident Stephen Bona for allegedly making telephone threats against state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).
Ives’ district includes a portion of Naperville.
“I’ve heard the arguments on both sides,” Fawell said in denying the motion.
She said the question of whether language Bona used in a telephone message left for Ives is punishable is best left to a jury.
Bona said he was responding to comments made by Ives on a radio program in which she described same-sex marriage as a “disordered” relationship.
Bona responded by leaving a message on Ives’ voice mail saying: “Your Tea Party Brethren Sarah Palin put up a map that included the names, locations and faces of Democratic candidates … We know where you live. There’s no longer an assault weapons ban.”
The message, not disputed by Bona, went on to advise Ives to think about future statements and referred to her with expletives.
Bona’s defense attorney has argued for dismissal on the basis that Bona’s message is protected free speech, but Fawell made it clear that she felt that genuine threats are not protected by the Constitution.
Bona declined comment on Fawell’s ruling, but his attorney, Joanie Rae Wimmer, indicated that she disagreed with the reasoning.
“I’m disappointed, but I respect the court,” she said after the ruling. “I’m confident we will ultimately prevail.”
Wimmer said that Bona’s message was a warning to Ives, not a physical threat against her person.
Contacted for comment, Ives issued a statement that read: “I agree with Judge Fawell’s opinion. This case remains in the hands of the state’s attorney. My office will comply with any further requests from the court.”
The case will be back in DuPage County Court March 3.