Threats Trials for Neo-Nazis Approach
The criminal justice system took a pair of threat-happy neo-Nazi loudmouths for quite a ride this year.
The fun began for neo-Nazi webmaster Turner on June 3, when he was arrested in his home state of New Jersey after urging readers of his Turner Radio Network blog to "take up arms" against two Connecticut lawmakers and a member of the state ethics office.
Although Turner is notorious for advocating the assassination of judges and elected officials in rants on broad topics like gun control and hate crimes legislation, the Internet call for violence that finally got him arrested dealt with a relatively obscure topic: legislation that would shift control of Roman Catholic Church affairs in Connecticut from the church to lay members.
"It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally," Turner wrote. "These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die."
He added this warning: "If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too."
State Capitol Police in Connecticut charged Turner with inciting injury to person or property, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Vowing to fight extradition to Connecticut, Turner was released from jail in New Jersey on June 10 after posting $25,000 bond.
Two weeks later, though, he was arrested by FBI agents on federal charges that he threatened over the Internet to assault and murder three federal judges in retaliation for a ruling upholding handgun bans in the Chicago area.
"Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed," Turner had written in a June 3 post that included photographs, phone numbers, work addresses and office room numbers of the judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.
If convicted of the federal charges, Turner faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was denied bail for almost two months before a federal judge released him Sept. 15 under strict conditions, including electronic monitoring and a prohibition against using the Internet or speaking to the media. His federal trial is scheduled for Nov. 30. The Connecticut state charges are still pending.
Eight days after Turner was released, Bill White, the commander of the neo-Nazi American National Socialist Workers Party, found himself a free man after spending 11 months in federal custody awaiting trials in two states for making implied or explicit threats on the Internet.
White was first arrested and transferred to federal custody in Illinois on charges of obstructing justice after publishing personal information on his website about the foreman of the jury that convicted neo-Nazi leader Matt Hale in 2004 of soliciting the murder of a federal judge.
After that arrest, White was held without bail. While in custody, he was indicted in Roanoke, Va., for threatening a newspaper columnist and other perceived enemies. After a judge dismissed the Chicago case in July on First Amendment grounds, the neo-Nazi leader was transferred to a holding facility in Roanoke to await trial in the Virginia case.
On Sept. 18, a federal judge granted White a $25,000 bond on the condition that he stay off the Internet. Five days later, however, a three-judge appellate panel in Richmond ordered White back to jail at the request of federal prosecutors.
His trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.