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Harassment, §§ 947.013(1m)(b), (1r) — Sufficiency of Evidence — Act “Accompanied By” Credible Threat

State v. Michael A. Sveum, 220 Wis. 2d 396, 584 N.W.2d 137 (Ct. App. 1998)
For Sveum: Robert T. Ruth


Sveum contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove that “[t]he act [was] accompanied by a credible threat.” The only threats alleged in this case occurred on October 16, 1994, when Sveum, among other things, threatened to “blow [Johnson’s] head off.” The harassing conduct at issue, on the other hand, did not occur until April 16, 1996, and afterwards. Sveum argues that the acts were not accompanied by the threats because they did not occur at about the same time….

.. Using the common and approved meaning of “accompany,” we conclude that Sveum’s acts were accompanied by his threats if the threats occurred or existed in association with the acts.

Sveum does not argue that the threats of October 16, 1994, did not exist at the time of the harassing acts alleged in the complaint. Johnson testified that after she received the hang-up calls on April 16, 1996, she was very afraid that Sveum would hurt her. Based on Johnson’s reaction to the phone calls, a reasonable jury could find that Sveum’s threats still caused Johnson to fear death or great bodily harm as of April 16, 1996. Therefore, a reasonable jury could find that the threats still existed in Johnson’s mind at the time that the harassing acts occurred.


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