As reported last night, Milton Bradley is in some big-time legal trouble as a result of allegedly making threats of bodily harm and/or death against an unidentified female. The charges under California Penal Code section 422 are felony charges, and if they are borne out, he could end up doing time.
It’s important to remember, however, that the law Bradley is charged with violating carries a subjective element. Specifically, the victim had to have taken the threat seriously at the time and had to have been placed “in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety.”
We have no idea about the facts of this case and in no way am I either doubting or buying his accuser’s allegations. However, because of the subjectivity of it — because it relies on the victim’s own words about what she felt at a specific time as opposed to eyewitness accounts or evidence of physical harm — it’s a law that can lend itself to specious claims more easily than others. If this were merely a case of Milton Bradley rolling his eyes at someone and breezily saying “One of these days, Alice, bang-zoom, to the moon!” I’m assuming that the police would not have made an arrest. And of course, Milton Bradley has a long and colorful history with anger management issues.
That said, despite his personal history, let’s give Bradley the benefit of the doubt before convicting him in the court of public opinion, OK? We simply don’t know enough at this time to say anything intelligent about the merits of the claim. Really, we don’t know anything.