Hal Turner, a right-wing radio shock jock that has advocated violence against minorities and judges multiple times, was convicted last Friday of threatening the lives of three appeals judges. It was his third trial on the charge—two prior juries had deadlocked. The third one took only two hours to convict him. Unusually, the second and third trials involved the testimony of the judges themselves. Turner faces up to 10 years in prison.
The case against Turner tested the bounds of the First Amendment. When does speech become a threat, an incitement to violence? In the wake of a decision by the three judges that Chicago's handgun ban was constitutional, Turner posted on the Internet the judges' pictures, names, addresses, a map of their court house and this call to action: "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."
Constitutional trivia: The case that pissed Turner off so much was an earlier ruling in what eventually became McDonald v Chicago, the landmark gun-control case.
Ironically, the judges Turner targeted are known to be conservative and perhaps, if they'd had a blank slate to decide the case, might have struck down the handgun ban. But at that point, the case's outcome upholding the law was compelled by Supreme Court precedent. When the judges' decision was appealed, the Supreme Court struck down the handgun ban, in the process making new constitutional law.
And speaking of SCOTUS, howze bout some cameras in that courtroom?: