December 4, 2012

"A blogger who urged readers to 'take up arms' against Connecticut officials..."

"... is suing state government leaders for $50 million after being acquitted of threatening and inciting violence charges."
Harold "Hal" Turner of North Bergen, NJ... was arrested after a June 2009 blog posting suggesting Connecticut officials "obey the Constitution or die" and urging readers to "take up arms."


Tank said...

There is way ... WAY ... more to this story. Google it.

It is almost impossible to figure out the truth of what was really going on here.

About 25 years ago, I knew Turner. Still don't know what to make of this story.

leslyn said...

Hmmm. People get ready.

edutcher said...

I see I have a convert.

It is coming.

MadisonMan said...

I hope he wins. The Govt should not be in the business of trying to hush people up.

Can't you make a living suing the Govt for stupid actions that are neither legal nor Constitutional? Isn't that how Ben Masel (GRHS) made a living?

YoungHegelian said...

From the article: The posting was in response to legislation to give lay people of Roman Catholic churches more control over parish finances. The bill was withdrawn.

From an online local New Jersey newspaper:

Turner, of North Bergen, was angry over legislation that would have given lay members of Roman Catholic churches more control over their parishes' finances. The bill, brought by state Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor, was withdrawn in March.

You don't gotta be a right-wing nut job to see that the proposed legislation raises serious 1st Amendment concerns. Folks such as Turner are scary alright. But legislators such as McDonald & Lawlor, who, in spite of taking an oath to defend the Constitution, would seriously propose such legislation, are scarier still.

EMD said...


Ahh, God Rest His Soul.

At first I thought he was a graduate of Grand Rapids High School.

Saint Croix said...

I guess saying the New Hampshire motto is a crime now. Good to know.

Richard Dolan said...

As it happens, I am appellate counsel for Mr. Turner on his appeal from a related federal conviction.

He was convicted in the EDNY of one count of threatening a federal judge in violation of 18 USC Section 115, based on a blogpost criticizing the Seventh Circuit's ruling in National Rifle Association v. City of Chicago, 567 F.3d 856 (7th Cir. 2009). In the course of a lengthy criticism, Turner said that the judges were "traitors" who "violated the Constitution". Quoting Jefferson's 'blood of tyrants' as neeeded to 'water the tree of liberty' idea, Turner used the same punch line as in the CT state case: "Obey the Constitution or die!" The judges at issue were Easterbrook, Posner and Bauer; all testified at his second and third trials (the first two ended in hung juries).

As it also happens, Turner's constitutional criticism of the Seventh Circuit's ruling was later largely adopted by the Supreme Court, which reversed the Seventh Circuit. 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010). The SCOTUS used much gentler language in doing so.

Turner was sentenced to 33 months and served his sentence while the appeal process wended its way (bail pending appeal having been denied). His appeal contends (inter alia) that Turner's speech was core political expression entitled to full First Amendment protection. It was argued in the Second Circuit on May 15, 2012. Still waiting for a decision.

Methadras said...

Where is Inga to chime in on this?