Prisoner Sentenced for Threatening Letters to Judges

Prisoner Sentenced for Threatening Letters to Judges

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- An Orem man has been sentenced to one year in jail for writing threatening letters -- signed with the name of another Utah County Jail inmate -- to two 4th District Court judges.

James C. Brannan, 27, pleaded guilty and mentally ill in January and was sentenced Thursday by Judge Claudia Laycock.

Defense attorney Jennifer Gowan said doctor has been treating Brannan through therapy and medication, and that "he isn't a danger to himself or others."

Brannan, who has a history of petty crime, was given credit for eight months spent in jail while the case was pending.

Laycock told Brannan he should remained employed at all times.

"If not, I want you to perform 20 hours of community service each week," she said. "The worst thing is for you to have idle time on your hands."

Judges Lynn Davis and Samuel McVey received the handwritten letters last July.

The letters threatened "to rape your wife, daughters and sons right in front of you, then kill you," if the inmate Brannan was posing as was given any more jail time.

Court security investigated and determined that Brannan was the author, and he was charged attempting to influence or retaliate against a judge.

"It's an ugly letter ... you never know when somebody threatens rape and murder; they might actually do it," said Davis, who added that Brannan had never even stepped foot in his courtroom.

He said the inmate Brannan had attempted to incriminate "always had treated me with respect and dignity. I knew it wasn't him."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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