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What is Anonymous?

The Vermont Supreme Court issued a decision today regarding "anonymous" telephone calls.  In Vermont, it is a crime to make  repeated and anonymous terrifying, intimidating, threatening, harassing, or annoying telephone calls.


In this case, the accused made two calls to the alleged victim.  The victim recognized the caller's voice.  The accused, however, did not state his identity to the alleged victim.  The State argued that unless the accused disclosed his identity, he was anonymous.  The accused argued that since the person he called recognized his voice, he was not anonymous.  


The court agreed with the accused.  In my opinion, they made the correct decision.  The statute, as written, appears to criminalize telephone calls from an unknown person.  If the recipient of the call knows who is on the other end of the line, this does not fall within the intent of the statute.  


I expect the statute to be re-written as a result of this decision.  It is likely that people will question why a non-anonymous threatening telephone is legal.  No doubt they will point out that a threat is a threat.  We shall see.  

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