Internet Law

Jailed for Web Threats to 3 Fed'l Judges, NJ Shock Jock Is Pro Se in Trial re Conn. Legislation Post


Already serving a 33-month prison term for threatening three federal judges in Chicago over the Internet, a former New Jersey shock jock could face substantially more time if he is convicted following a brief trial of the felony of inciting injury to Connecticut lawmakers.

The Hartford Superior Court trial of Harold “Hal” Turner, 49, began this morning and closing arguments are scheduled to take place tomorrow, reports the Associated Press.

Turner, who is representing himself, apparently mounted a weak defense, calling no witnesses and not testifying on his own behalf.

He has been attempting to assert a free-speech defense, but the trial judge ruled today against Turner’s requested jury instruction based on the first amendment, the Hartford Courant reports.

An earlier Courant article says Turner opted to represent himself when he and his public defender could not agree on a trial strategy.

Turner, who resided in New Jersey, was arrested in 2009 at the Connecticut state capitol after posting on his blog that Catholics should “take up arms and put down this tyranny by force” concerning legislation that had, apparently unbeknownst to him, previously been scuttled. He had said he would publicize lawmakers’ addresses, but was taken into custody before he could do so.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Blogger Convicted in Judicial Death Wish; Mom Sees 1st Amendment Implications”

ABAJournal.com: “Shock Jock Hal Turner Gets 33 Months for Threatening 7th Circuit Judges in Blog Post”

Associated Press: “Jury being chosen in ‘take up arms’ blogger trial”

Hartford Courant: “On Eve Of Trial Over Alleged Threats, Blogger Turner Blasts Prosecution”

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