Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shock-Jock Radio Host Loses Court Fight

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shock-Jock Radio Host Loses Court Fight

Article excerpt

A federal judge has refused to vacate the 2010 conviction of North Bergen radio show host Harold C. "Hal" Turner for threatening three judges in a blog post, ruling that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in another threat case does not apply to the statute under which Turner was prosecuted.

The bad news for Turner came in an order filed Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn, where Turner was tried three times before a jury convicted him of threatening to kill the Chicago-based judges.

In a four-page memorandum ruling and order, U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter rejected Turner's argument that the Supreme Court's June decision in Elonis v. United States established that his conviction cannot stand because the conduct for which he was convicted is not a crime.

Turner, who was sentenced to 33 months in prison by Walter, blasted the latest ruling and vowed to appeal it to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

"Based upon his ruling, it seems to me that Judge Donald Walter is too pig-headed or simply too corrupt to admit he made an error; an error which resulted in three years of my life being stolen through federal prison," Turner said in an email.

Turner, 53, a former informant for the FBI on violent white supremacist groups, served most of his prison sentence and in October completed three years of supervised release, during which the incendiary talk show host was barred from the airwaves.

He had appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear his appeal. In June, however, Turner was buoyed by the court's ruling in the case of Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania man who had been sentenced to 44 months for using violent language in Facebook posts threatening his estranged wife, police officers, a kindergarten class and an FBI agent.

In that case, the justices said prosecutors must do more than prove that a reasonable person would view such statements as threats; they must prove that the speaker intended to threaten. …

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