It’s a free country, and one of the most cherished rights the U.S. Constitution protects is the right to free speech. Freedom of speech means citizens have the right to express their opinions and ideas without facing repercussions from the government. However, this freedom has its limitations, especially when it comes to making threats against others. One Mississippi man is now facing federal charges for allegedly threatening harm to several judges.

According to the grand jury indictment, the 39-year-old man had filed numerous federal lawsuits against local police and other agencies. However, the judges in the cases dismissed the complaints. The man was apparently unhappy with the ruling in at least one case, and he mailed a letter to the clerk of the U.S. District Court in Jackson to protest the judge’s decision and to request a new judge.

The clerk’s affidavit alleges that the man subsequently called the clerk’s office and threatened to get a gun and shoot up the courthouse. Reportedly, he made several other calls threatening harm to judges and others in the courthouse. The penalties for conviction for such threats can be as severe as 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 per count. The man is facing three such counts.

With so much on the line, those facing such serious federal charges are wise to begin building a defense strategy as early as possible. Many factors may require scrutiny, such as the legality of the process for collecting evidence and the accused’s state of mind. Having a skilled Mississippi attorney who understands the workings of the federal system can be an asset to anyone in this situation.