In U.S. v. Guevera, Guevera mailed a letter to a U.S. District judge. The letter, which came in an envelope containing a white powder that consisted of dried hair gel and powdered cleanser, read: “I am sick and tired of your games[.] All [A]mericans will die as well as you. You have been now been [sic] exposure [sic] to anthrax.”
Guevera was convicted of threatening the use of a weapon of mass destruction, held to be a career criminal (because he was nineteen and had at least two convictions for crimes of violence), and thus received a life sentence.
On appeal, he argued that he could not be convicted for a threat without some proof of future action. The court noted that this might be a good argument if it was ruling from a blank slate, but held it precluded by prior circuit authority. The court then rejected jury instruction issues (one similar to the future action issue, and one relating to a variance between the instructions and the indictment), and a Booker issue that was raised for the first time in a letter after briefing on appeal.
The case stands for the proposition that emptying a federal building for a day and a half and shutting down a court that hears diversity cases has a substantial affect on interstate commerce.