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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blogger Who Threatened Judge, Online, Avoids Prosecution

An Allentown resident who threatened a Northampton County judge has dodged a bullet. That's the decision of District Attorney John Morganelli, announced during a February 27 news conference.

Allentown resident George Charles has threatened Northampton County Judge Michael Koury three times in online comments at The Morning Call webpage, posing as Montikea.

On February 9, Charles stated in part, "... Professional conduct? Meet me anytime behind the courthouse and I'll give Koury justice, and it won't be professionally done." The following day, Charles posted another critical comment, stating that "Koury needs to 'get clipped' one night after court's done."

Concerned about his personal safety, Judge Koury asked the DA to investigate. The first-term jurist also confronted defense attorney Dennis Charles, George's cousin, in open court about the incident. Stunned, Attorney Charles denied any knowledge of the matter. Judge Koury later apologized to the lawyer and recused himself from a matter in which the attorney was involved.

As a result of his investigation, Morganelli told reporters that a prima facia case of terroristic threats, a first degree misdemeanor carrying a punishment of five years imprisonment and $5,000, had been established. But the prosecutor had decided against a prosecution because George Charles has expressed remorse, has apologized to the judge and his family, and Judge Koury is satisfied with that result.

Morganelli stated the outcome could be vastly different with a different DA or judge. Another jurist might not be so forgiving. And Morganelli acknowledged he is something of a purist who in the past has dismissed prosecutions against people exercising their First Amendment rights by distributing leaflets outside a post office or flying a flag upside down.

Another prosecutor might have a less tolerant view, Morganelli warned.

"Citizens should feel free to comment freely and to criticize freely any of us," the prosecutor stated. "However, we would only ask that all citizens be mindful of the terror that could be brought to those who are in the system and who are vulnerable to retribution by individuals who are adversely affected by decisions that are made in our courts."

Morganelli stated his office reviews several threats against judge every year, but they usually come from prisoners.

Blogger's Note: You can read Morganelli's Statement here.


Anonymous said...

Koury's campaign mailers and robocalls were more vicious than this idiot's threats. Both are board-certified assholes. But I'm more frightened of judges with no temperament for the bench who act like cowboys and threaten attorneys, based on their hack investigation. Bloggers are expected to be putrid. Judges should be better.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with that last comment. This judge is far more 'dangerous' on the bench than is the harmless comments of a blogger in response to the judge's BS. If you REALLY wanted to find merit with someone who has exploited his blog for personal gain, look no further than the blowhard that runs THIS blog, Bernie O'Hare. A bigger prima donna won't be found. Can you imagine proudly having your picture taken with Jessie Jackson and then posting it? Anyone else would have run for the hills, but not Bernie. JJ is the consummate 'poser' as well as being an extortionist. Why even acknowledge that he was in town?

Anonymous said...

The D.A. refuses to move forard on this? Koury is wrong for the job , however, I do think the case might have merit. I guess he wouldn't even consider charges for a complainer blogger he doesn't like.

Anonymous said...

As a victim of Judge Koury's bad decision making, I understand the anger behind the threats. I do not condone violonce or the threat of violence against anyone. The proper way to deal with dishonoroble judges is to file a complaint with the appropriate judical disciplinary authority.

Anonymous said...

Lost in this 'saber-rattling' by Morganelli is the very real occurrence that this incident would have gotten his butt beaten badly in court by ANY defense lawyer worth his salt. He knows that the level of the supposed threat was never going to be construed as a serious threat, although distasteful. Koury blew this well beyond it's bounds and Morganelli knows that, too. He also knows that for him to take this as a case for prosecution would only be considered 'chicken-shit' and tie up much needed resources in the court because montikea wouldn't let this lie, he'd fight it. It's a loser no matter how you play it, and the DA knows it.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bernie, where are you?

Come out, come out, wherever you are!