Ives: 'We need to tamp things down'
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) hopes an appellate court’s decision upholding the conviction of a man accused of threatening her will travel far beyond Illinois.
“The man who threatened me did so five years ago, and since that time the national political discussion has only deteriorated and become more vitriolic,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “The Illinois Appellate Court’s decision says you can’t go as far as to threaten politicians, and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, it will send the message to everyone across politics that we really need to tamp things down.”
The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois on Dec. 11 upheld a lower court’s conviction of Stephen Bona, formerly of Chicago, for making several threatening phone calls to Ives’s office dating back to 2013. In a County of DuPage press release made public that same day, prosecutors highlighted how Bona taunted Ives with the words “We know where you live” and “There’s no longer a ban on assault weapons.”
After the latest verdict was rendered, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin thanked the court for doing what he said was the right thing.
Ives was even more grateful.
“He threatened me and my family,” she said. “He tried to make a case based on his freedom of speech rights and his insistence that none of the threats he made were specific. I’m happy the court saw through that and sent the message politicians have rights too.”
Bona, 55, was first found guilty in 2016 and sentenced to two years of probation for the Class 3 felony by Judge George Bakalis.
His appeal centered on the argument that at least some of the evidence used to convict him should not have been ruled admissible and that he had a right to free speech under the First Amendment.