Sunday, February 12, 2012

Was Judge Koury Wrong To Be Concerned About Online Threat?

George Charles, aka Montikea, is one of those online trolls who hides behind a veil of anonymity to attack other people. According to a report in The Morning Call, he recently stated, in an online comment at that newspaper, that Northampton County Common Pleas Judge Michael Koury "needs to 'get clipped' one night after court's done."

Now Koury screwed up and intimated that the wrong Charles, a prominent and well-respected defense attorney, was responsible for the remark.

But I'll forgive him. A Judge, especially one with school-age children, has every right to be concerned about the possibility of violence. Judges have been murdered by disappointed litigants.

DA John Morganelli, who has pretty thick skin himself, is something of a First Amendment purist. He'll decide whether the remark warrants criminal attention. But without question, the comment is inexcusable.

What do you think?

40 comments:

Untouched Takeaway said...

Bernie:

There's a huge gulf between saying someone should be "keel hauled" and use of the term "clipping".

I've had to grow a thick skin since blogging, but especially as a female, if someone made that kind of repeated threat (I can't find the links but apparently "clipping" wasn't the only thing that montikea threatened), I'd do some investigation tout de suite.

I think possibly the venue should have been different, but I agree with him being concerned about the threats.

UT

Anonymous said...

Taking the threat seriously is OK, but as the lawyer said, why do it in open court? The judge could have done it in chambers and not embarrassed both himself and the lawyer. Another guy in a black robe with a god complex.

Anonymous said...

6.22 is spot-on. Immature with a serious god-complex. These actions significantly lacked judicial decorum.

Crispus Attucks said...

Had the judge dealt with this in chambers he would not have made a fool of himself or embarrassed Attorney Charles.

Having written that comment I certainly do not disagree with his concerns. The threat to him was pretty plain.

the other charles went over board and has probably earned himself some big trouble with the DA. Threatening judges doesn't cut it.

Attorney Charles is owed PUBLIC apologies - both from his cousin and from Koury

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think Koury was wrong to dress down Att'y Charles in public, but understand the mistake given the fact that his life was just threatened.

Anonymous said...

How did he find out the true poster, any legal pressure towards mcall?

Monkey Momma said...

The comment is inexcusable, and the false accusation that resulted is inexcusable, too. (It sure seems like an accusation by Koury to me, regardless of what he says.)

Koury ought to lose his job over this snafu. I understand his concern, but you cannot surprise someone with a trial. That is what happened. In public. Disgraceful.

Now there's a criminal threat AND a public defamation case. Good one guys. That just means more money going to more lawyers. The circle of law!

Anonymous said...

I'm with the author. Koury should have reported his thoughts to law enforcement and confronted Charles in chambers (if at all). That said, as a father, I understand the emotion of his reaction. He should be held to a higher standard but if I was worried about the safety of my kids I would have done the same thing.

Threats of violence against members of the bench can never be tolerated. These men and women sentence gang members and thugs everyday. They are the subject of these threats too often and the anonymous nature of the internet (I know the irony that my post is anonymous) make it too easy for people to hurl these threats without thought of consequence. If you threaten a judge, you get arrested, its that simple.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The threats are wrong. And, I am glad that they were discussed publicly. It may send a warning to those who abuse "anonymous".

Bernie O'Hare said...

" If you threaten a judge, you get arrested, its that simple."

That one sentence says everything I was trying to say in my blog.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Koury ought to lose his job over this snafu"

I was against Koury's election, but since that time, he has been one of its hardest-working members. With the exception of the Elias case, i have heard nothing but good things about him from the attorneys who appear before him. He was wrong to confront Att'y Charles publicly, but I can understand that he must have been upset. I would like to know how long the comment remained up at the mcall site or whether it was ever removed.

This who think he needs to be removed from office over this can vote against his retention. As for me, I can overlook this momentary lapse. He is human.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How did he find out the true poster, any legal pressure towards mcall?"

There is no mention of any undue pressure in the mcall story. But if a judge's life is threatened, there should not have to be any pressure. The MC, if it is acting responsibly, should have forwarded all information to the DA, without request. Judges get killed. It is a sad fact.

Anonymous said...

Koury did it the wrong way and on top of that accused the wrong person in public. Why would you have to abuse his powers and take on the wrong person in open court using the bench as a powerful tool to question someone. We all have cell phones these days reach out and call someone to discuss it privately before you wrongfully accuse someone in public. A public apology coming to this attorney don't hold your breath!

Anonymous said...

I think he shouldn't be a Judge.....period
this and his going against a jurys' decission earlier this week
not withstanding

Anonymous said...

The judge should have turned it over to law enforcement.

His emotional reaction to it...the outburst in court and worse, aimed at the wrong guy, calls into question his decision making skills.

Which are kind of important in his job.

Anonymous said...

Koury should resign, it is obvious to everybody in NORCO that his new position has gone to his head and given him a GOD complex

Senior judge should publicly reprimand him and relegate him to the worst cases until his term is up

Bill said...

I think he was right to to take it seriously but he should not have conducted his own investigation.

Anonymous said...

He shows exceedingly poor temperament. Many thought him unfit. He was and is. Doesn't make him a bad guy. It makes him a bad judge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

OK. It's a given that the Judge screwed up. I'll give you that. I'm inclined to understand, but I respect those who consider this a more serious matter. But what I find amazing is that nobody is condemning the remarks of Charles, who said Koury "needs to be clipped." To me, that is far more offensive than anything Koury did.

zoid said...

Koury should have taken that behind closed doors in his chamber, he screwed up!!

Anonymous said...

Your post is primarily about his reaction. Do you really think a discussion of the outrageous comment is needed? We should not and do not condone threats against judges. I have to believe that's a given. We should aslo not condone judges behaving immaturely and going cowboy to handle a potentially serious threat. Koury's temperament make him completely unfit to be a judge. He should do some growing up. He sounds like a total asshole. If memory serves, his campaign was a bit sleazy and gave warning of his poor fit for judge. He's as small as his father was a towering figure.

Anonymous said...

There was never any 'death' threat. At worst there was the implication of a punch in the mouth or a vehement setting straight verbally, but nothing more. The bulk of montikea's posts are regular condemnations of the judge for his courtroom antics on Tuesday. In context, his remarks were poorly chosen, but tongue-in-cheek. If Koury thinks his life is threatened, he's just a prime donna looking for attention.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A statement claiming that Judge Koury "needs to 'get clipped' one night after court's done", is a death threat ... made by an anonymous coward who was unlucky enough to get caught.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with you, Bernie. ALL the people posting on the Morning Call don't use their real names, and on the few times that they do, you have wonder if that's their real name or a ficticious one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's my point. It was an anonymous coward, like most of the other anonymous cowards who make personal attacks. Except in this guy's case, he made a death threat against a judge.

Anonymous said...

You're WHOLE blog is posted by people that choose to be anonymous, the only one of a few who aren't is YOU, Bernie. Why is that? And as far as the meaning of 'clipped', it is NOT referring to death. It means slapped in the back of the head or punched. Where is your 'dictionary' from, New Brunswick, NJ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's "your," not "you're." In addition to your (not you're) poor understanding of the English language, you are one of the anonymous trolls to whom I refer.

Anonymous said...

...while you, who haven't any firsthand knowledge of any of the parties and this incident, are posting as though you've taken the moral high ground when you've missed much to the contrary. George Charles has requisite remorse for his two questionable postings but also has the temerity and conviction to stand by his criticism of Judge Koury despite the threat of the judge's wrath and the DA's possible criminal charges. He's obviously NOT a coward and seeing that he's run for state rep and district justice in the past, I'd say that he's got the courage of his convictions throughout all this affair, and you've seemed to have stepped over THAT.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but you're a troll with his own blog. See how that works? And you contradict yourself as well by being supportive of the judge when he's obviously a 'ham', and you've criticized him in a past blog when he ran for election. What's the difference between then and now except for him doing damage with robes on?

Bernie O'Hare said...

George Charles is a coward who threatened a judge's life and could not sign his name.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I criticized Koury and did not support him when he ran. But he was elected judge and is entitled to respect as a judge. My criticism is in no way an invitation to launch death threats, as George Charles did anonymously, like a coward.

Anonymous said...

Sure he was. Um hmm. Only in your mind, Bernie. There was no 'death threat'. You see too many movies.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, Bernie, what does 'take him out behind the woodshed' mean to you? I'll bet that's lethal in your mind, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's not what was said. Wat was said is that he "needs to 'get clipped' one night after court's done." That's a death threat, directed at a judge, and from a coward.

Anonymous said...

You know, Bernie, you're just just another blogger who needs the drama of another subject to keep you going. Slow week, huh? Unless I'm wrong and you REALLY are a drama queen.

Anonymous said...

After seeking out as many comments as were available, my conclusion is you guys spend so much energy yapping about everything except the fact that our language has become so broad that interpreting the comments which raised the temperature of your debates is uncertain at best and as my law school professor would say run on sentences running mouths misguided interpreters, what a case!!Dios sabe no yo.

Anonymous said...

Trish is a witch
Is she sane
Right or wrong?
You are correct
Post in here
In as much
Here and other blogs
As far as I can
Anon cowards should be banned
To tighten the response
Liven things up
Things are looking good
Up is the only direction from here

Anonymous said...

I hope that someone has reported this entire incident to the Judicial Conduct Board. It is clear that although it is wrong for anyone to make a threat and that Koury lacks the appropriate temperament to sit as a judge. He should be removed from the bench, but he won't be.

Anonymous said...

He may be hardworking as you say Bernie, but this situation is but one example of him being someone that should not be a judge. The answer to not vote to retain a judge is just dismissing the truth as you know the term is 10 years and it is rare that a judge does not get retained. Perhaps enough evidence of his temper and poor judgment will make their way to the Judicial Conduct Board.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bernie, where are you???

How come you're not posting on the newer blog on this same subject? Huh??