Friday, December 11, 2009

UPDATE: Mistrial in Blogger's Alleged Death Threats Against Judges Case

Dirksen Federal BuildingImage by Jim Frazier via Flickr
Following a three-day trial in federal court in Brooklyn, a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial being declared by U.S. District Court Judge Donald E. Walter in the case against Harold C. Turner, an Internet broadcaster/blogger, who prosecutors allege issued death threats against three sitting justices of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The jury heard testimony from six federal agents, but not from the purported targets of Turner's rants, Judges Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook and William Bauer. Turner was arrested in North Bergen, N.J. by FBI agents in June based on a Web post that said: "These judges deserve to be killed." Turner was upset by the court's ruling in a gun case. Another posting included the judges' names, phone numbers, office numbers, and a schematic of the courthouse in which they sit. (See "TUOL" post 6/25/09).

Prosecutors will retry Turner, and Judge Walter has set a March 1, 2010 date.
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  1. Do you think the wording of the charge may have caused the deadlock? .. Or do you have any other theory?


  2. Speculation on my part, but the prosecution rested after 3 days in what was to be a week-long trial, so I would surmise the govt. case was weakened by judicial rulings excluding certain evidence for one reason or another.

  3. From what you report in your post, Turner was clearly inciting, if not worse. Targeting judges is extremely serious, so it's surprising if the case wasn't airtight. On the other hand, the law is very complex, my son, a Canadian lawyer, continually tells me, and legal interpretations and judicial rulings cannot always be anticipated or predicted.

    The retrial and your update will be interesting

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate your comments.