As for the Hartford Connecticut State's Attorneys office, I hear that crow is on the menu at the courthouse cafeteria.
A blogger was acquitted Friday of charges that he threatened state officials when he urged readers to "take up arms" and suggested that government leaders "obey the Constitution or die."
Harold "Hal" Turner, of North Bergen, N.J., was found not guilty of felony inciting injury to people and misdemeanor threatening by a Hartford jury that deliberated less than three hours. He could have faced a decade in prison if convicted of the felony charge.
Turner, who will be returned to a federal prison in Indiana to complete a nearly three-year sentence for threatening judges in Illinois, hugged family members after the verdict was announced.
"I am very pleased," he said, as he was led away by correction officers.
Turner, a neo-Nazi jailbird, represented himself in the lawsuit. Though jurors interviewed after the verdict declared themselves distressed and disturbed by Turner's statements, they had the sense to see what State's Attorney Gail Hardy, trial prosecutor Thomas Garcia, and the unnamed trial judge (who no doubt bent over backwards to give Turner, already in federal prison for threatening judges, a fair trial) could not: that Turner's statements, while disgusting, were protected speech under the United States Constitution: political hyperbole, despite the odiousness of the defendant or his views, is not a crime.
Will the sting of losing a highly publicized case deter police and prosecutors like Thomas Garcia and Gail Hardy from bringing such flimsy charges in the future? History suggests that's unlikely. But the shame of fame as the prosecutors who couldn't get a conviction against a neo-Nazi jailhouse lawyer?
One hopes at least two prosecutors have learned a lesson in remedial prosecutorial discretion, if not respect for the First Amendment.