Criminal Justice

'Hate Blogger' Charged Over Alleged Web Threats to Murder 7th Circuit Judges

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Blogger and occasional Internet talk show host Harold Charles “Hal” Turner was arrested by federal agents today at his New Jersey home on charges that he threatened on his website to murder three judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Prosecutors say the material–which allegedly provided photographs and addresses for the three jurists–included statements such as “these judges deserve to be killed,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

Turner, 47, also is accused of posting a map of the federal courthouse in Chicago in which the three work–and, in reference to the 2005 murders by a disgruntled litigant of the mother and husband of a Chicago federal judge, stating that another such “lesson” is needed, reports the Associated Press.

The three judges reportedly targeted are: Frank Easterbrook, who currently serves as chief judge, William Bauer and Richard Posner. They authored a 7th Circuit opinion restricting gun rights earlier this month that angered Turner, says the Chicago Sun-Times.

Threats to kill a federal judge are a particularly sensitive subject in Chicago, following the murder, by a disgruntled litigant, of the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow at her Chicago home in 2005.

Prosecutors say Turner referenced the Lefkow murders in his posts, the AP reports:

“Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t get the hint after those killings,” the post allegedly states. “It appears another lesson is needed.”

A copy of the criminal complaint (PDF) against Turner is provided by Wired’s Threat Level blog.

Although Turner is to appear tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., his case apparently will be prosecuted in Chicago. He is charged with threatening to assault and murder three federal judges with intent to retaliate against them for performing their official duties.

Additional coverage:

Bloomberg: “FBI Arrests Blogger for Allegedly Threatening Judges”

Jersey Journal: “North Bergen hate blogger Hal Turner is back in handcuffs”

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