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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 101551
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I have a question about placing a letter in a neigbors

Customer Question

i have a question about placing a letter in a neigbors mailbox. my neighbor had a tree down for over 4 weeks so i put a note saying: Clean up your tree its been down for four weeks!!!! the neighbor says this is a federal offense as well as a threat and
harrassment. he reported to the local police. i have gotten differing answers from lawyers on this. i am looking for advice
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i have been told that there is no crime by putting a letter in a mailbox
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not to participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.I am sorry to hear about this situation.A) This is not a federal offense. How can it be? You did not steal their mail. You did not vandalize their mail or their mailbox. See HERE, generally. Their claim that this is a federal offense is pretty much ridiculous.B) This is not a threat. See HERE for the definition of a threat under PA law. Do you think the county prosecutor is really going to believe that the placing of such a letter constitutes one of the following: (1) commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another; (2) cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; or (3) otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. I do not think so.C) This is not harassment. See HERE for the definition of harassment under PA law. Is placing a letter in one's mailbox equivalent to one of the following: (1) strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects the other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; (2) follows the other person in or about a public place or places; (3) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose; (4) communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures; (5) communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner; (6) communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours; or (7) communicates repeatedly in a manner other than specified in paragraphs (4), (5) and (6). Of course not.D) The neighbor either (a) overreacted, or (b) is attempting to scare you, or (c) both. Regardless, this really would not be a criminal matter. Or should not be, rather. They were just trying to frazzle you a bit, and they succeeded. But this is not actionable, arguably.I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
For some reason, the links did not work. I am going to provide the url for them:https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1708http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=27&sctn=6&subsctn=0http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/18/00.027.009.000..HTMGentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ely, i would like you to take a look at the letter the neighbor sent, also this neighbor is a local lawyer. can i attach it here?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Yes, you may. Let me know if you need instructions on how to do so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i attached the letter
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.1) The letter discusses 18 U.S. Code § 1725. While it is true that technically, no one except authorized US postal service persons may place things into a mailbox, this law generally applies to individuals/entities that mass-market by "stuffing" mailboxes, or harass individuals. I really doubt that the US Inspector General is going to prosecute a neighbor-to-neighbor, one page, one time letter. 2) I am going to assume for the purpose of this paragraph that one did not trespass unto their property to deliver the letter. If that assumption is correct, then the police in such a scenario are unlikely to really do anything, if indeed a criminal complaint has been filed. They may talk to each party, but provided this is a part of a broader, general, consistent abusive behavior, I think they will likely leaver this matter alone.3) If this makes you worried - and I can tell it does - it is recommended to retain an attorney to respond to that letter, and explain that it is unlikely that anything actionable will be done and that one had no criminal intent, no malicious intent, and it is very clear. Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
should i go to the local police and speak to them about the letter? should i reach out to the neighbor and tell him sorry?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
I cannot tell you what to do, because this goes beyond general information. But, in a hypothetical scenario, I would:
1) Not apologize. Apologizing can be seen as admitting guilt. So this is not a good idea. If one must, one can have an attorney write a letter back. This is how it works in most cases.
2) I would not contact the police. I would wait until they contact me, which likely may be never given the sheer non-issue of this situation. In addition, if they contacted me (very unlikely), I would use an attorney to correspond back with them and to provide them with my version of the story.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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