Calling Hal Turner "a danger to the community," a federal judge in Chicago has denied bail to the Web talk show host who has been charged with threatening three U.S. appellate court judges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Ashman, who sits in the Northern District of Illinois, issued the statement after a hearing in Chicago on Monday. Turner has been in custody in Chicago since he was moved there from New Jersey, where he was arrested by the FBI on June 24 for writing that three judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should be killed for upholding a Chicago ban on handguns.
The defendant is ordered to be "detained as a danger to the community pending further court proceedings," Ashman said in a one-sentence order.
In a June 2 posting on his Web site, called Turner Radio Network, Turner said 7th Circuit Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer "deserve to be killed" for their ruling in the handgun case that day. In a June 3 follow-up post, Turner provided the names, work addresses, phone numbers and photos of the judges.
At Turner's arraignment hearing on July 28, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Hogan argued that Turner should remain in custody based, in part, on the fact that he continued to threaten authorities even after his arrest. Hogan said that while Turner was in custody in New Jersey, he called in additional postings naming three FBI agents who interviewed him. He called in those postings despite court restrictions on his Internet use.
Turner's attorney, Michael Orozco of Newark, N.J.-based Bailey & Orozco, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, saying they violate his client's First Amendment right to express his opinions on his Web site and that nothing on the site was "a true threat." Orozco is also seeking to have the case moved to New Jersey if it proceeds.