Bolingbrook man raises free speech defense in juror harassment case

Christopher Gunn

A Bolingbrook man has raised a free speech defense in a case in which he’s charged with harassing a woman who sat on the jury in his Will County traffic case.

Since Feb. 7, Christopher Gunn, 41, has been facing a felony charge of harassing one of the jurors who found him guilty of failing to carry a driver’s license while operating a vehicle and disobeying a stop sign in a 2023 traffic case.

Gunn, who is Black, allegedly sent the juror, who is white, a message on her Instagram account that read, “Just so you know, I didn’t want you white [expletive] on my jury [expletive],” according to the charge.

Gunn’s attorney, Cosmos Tedone, argued in a May 21 motion that his client’s speech is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“There was a no threatening or implying a threat but an expression of an idea,” according to Tedone’s motion.

His motion argued that although Gunn’s “idea may have been ill-advised and surely outside of the mainstream,” it was nevertheless “protected by the First Amendment.”

Tedone’s motion also further argued that the case against Gunn should be dismissed because the allegations do not meet the legal requirements to support the harassment charge. Tedone argued that no evidence existed that Gunn intended to threaten or harass the juror.

“He only sent one alleged social media comment, which did not convey any threat of violence, nor was it intended to be harassing,” according to Tedone’s motion.

In a petition to keep Gunn in jail, prosecutors said the juror was concerned for her safety after discovering that Gunn was able to find her Instagram account and realizing her home address also was discoverable online. The juror believed that Gunn was harassing her for finding him guilty at trial.

Will County Judge Sarah Jones had denied prosecutors’ request to keep Gunn in jail because his charge did not qualify for detention under the pretrial provisions of the SAFE-T Act.

By the time Jones delivered her ruling to release Gunn from jail, he had spent more than a month in the facility because of alleged inmate rule violations.

Gunn’s next court hearing is July 25.