Friday, December 04, 2009

Jury Deadlocked In Hal Turner Case

The jury is deadlocked after just a couple hours of deliberation of the charges against Hal Turner. He's accused of threatening three federal judges through his radio program and online presence:
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Walter ordered the jury to return Monday morning to resume deliberations on whether Turner, 47, broke the law against threatening judges when he wrote on his blog last June that three federal appeals court judges “deserved to be killed” for ruling in favor of a gun control ordinance.

If convicted, Turner, who built an audience in recent years of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with his extreme right-wing radio and blog tirades, could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The central issue in the case is whether Turner’s words alone constitute an illegal threat.

Prosecutors contend that Turner’s words were aimed to “impede,” “intimidate” and “retaliate” against the federal judges – all elements of a threat, they say. But Turner’s defense lawyers say Turner’s statement on his blog was merely his opinion as a shock jock and therefore protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

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