Internet Law

Shock Jock Hal Turner Gets 33 Months for Threatening 7th Circuit Judges in Blog Post

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Defiant to the end, an Internet radio shock jock sought probation today for saying in a blog post that three federal appeals court judges in Chicago “deserved to be killed” for their rulings in gun-ban litigation while simultaneously accusing the judge in his own Brooklyn federal court case of “legal skullduggery.”

Harold “Hal” Turner also contended that he never intended to harm anyone, reports the Record.

He got a 33-month federal prison sentence from Judge Donald Walter of the Western District of Louisiana, who was assigned to hear the case. It was transferred to Brooklyn, not far from Turner’s base in New Jersey, although the government’s case was handled by prosecutors from Chicago.

As Turner wrote in one post, initially quoting Thomas Jefferson, ” ‘The tree of liberty must be replenished from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots,’ ” reports the New York Law Journal.

Then Turner went on to add: “It is time to replenish the tree! Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.”

The controversial case resulted in two hung juries before prosecutors finally obtained a conviction in August under a law that prohibits threats to attack judges “with the intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with” their work.

The government had sought a six-year sentence, arguing that the three judges concerned–William Bauer, Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner–had feared for their lives due to the threat.

Additional coverage: “FBI Taught Jailed Blogger to Incite Others, Hal Turner Defense Lawyer Says” “7th Circuit Judges Uneasy Testifying in ‘Hate Blogger’ Death Threats Case”

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