NEW YORK (CN) – The 2nd Circuit vacated a $3,300 jury award to a New York man who claimed he was illegally arrested for mailing a city politician a packet of press clippings and written material on current world events that were prophesied in the Bible.
Carlos Vives sent the material to former lieutenant governor candidate Jane Hoffman and was arrested for violating a New York penal law that criminalizes sending material intended to “harass, annoy, threaten or alarm” another person.
Vives has been known to send similar packets to Jewish people to alert them that biblical prophesies are beginning to unfold, including the unification of Europe into a single political and military power.
City officials found no threatening statements in the material he sent to Hoffman, but concluded that it was meant to – and successfully did – alarm her in violation of state law.
Vives was arrested and held in a cell for several hours, but was released after the district attorney decided not to prosecute.
He sued the city and the two detectives who arrested him, claiming they violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights. He also challenged the penal code’s ban on “annoying or alarming” speech.
A jury awarded him $3,300, but the circuit vacated that award and remanded, saying the current record does not resolve whether enforcement of the state law violated the plaintiff’s rights.