Pennsylvania Judge Throws Out Charge For Harassing Atheist While Calling The Victim A Doofus

There is a surprising story out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania that seems the perfect storm of religious tensions. You begin with Ernie Perce, an atheist who marched as a zombie Mohammad in the Mechanicsburg Halloween parade. Then you add Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim who stepped off a curb and reportedly attacked Perce for insulting the Prophet. Then you have a judge (Judge Mark Martin) who threw out the criminal charges against Elbayomy and ridiculed the victim, Perce. The Judge identifies himself as a Muslim and says that Perce conduct is not what the First Amendment is supposed to protect. [UPDATE: The judge says he is not a Muslim despite what is heard by most listeners on the tape. That being the case, the criticism of the comments remains.] [UPDATE2: Perce has responded to our blog and denied many of the factual representations made by Judge Martin].


Perce is the American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director and marched with other atheists, including one dressed as a creepy Pope. Here is the tape of the incident:

Perce says that Elbayomy grabbed him and tried to take his sign. Elbayomy was at the parade with his wife and children and said that he felt he had to act in the face of the insult. The officer at the scene, Sgt. Brian Curtis, correctly concluded that Perce was engaged in a lawful, first amendment activity. He therefore charged Elbayomy. While it looks like an assault, he was only charged with harassment.

The case, however, then went to District Judge Mark Martin who not only threw out the charge of harassment but ridiculed Perce as a “doofus.” He also proceeds to not only give an account of his own feelings (and say that he was offended personally by Perce’s action) but suggests that Elbayomy was just protecting his “culture.” The judge not only points to the Koran in the courtroom but his time in Muslim countries as relevant to his deliberations. Putting aside the problem of ruling in a case where you admit you have strong personal feelings, the lecture given on the first amendment is perfectly grotesque from a civil liberties perspective.

Here is part of the hearing transcript:

Well, having had the benefit of having spent over two-and-a-half years in predominantly Muslim countries, I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact, I have a copy of the Quran here, and I would challenge you, Sir, to show me where it says in the Quran that Muhammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted a couple of things. So before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus. …

In many other Muslim-speaking countries, err, excuse me, many Arabic-speaking countries, predominantly Muslim, something like this is definitely against the law there, in their society. In fact, it could be punished by death, and frequently is, in their society.

Here in our society, we have a Constitution that gives us many rights, specifically First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers intended. I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures – which is what you did.

I don’t think you’re aware, Sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – I understand you’re an atheist – but see Islam is not just a religion. It’s their culture, their culture, their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day toward Mecca. To be a good Muslim before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, unless you’re otherwise told you cannot because you’re too ill, too elderly, whatever, but you must make the attempt. Their greeting is ‘Salam alaikum, wa-laikum as-Salam,’ uh, ‘May God be with you.’

Whenever it is very common, their language, when they’re speaking to each other, it’s very common for them to say, uh, Allah willing, this will happen. It’s, they’re so immersed in it. And what you’ve done is, you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m a Muslim. I find it offensive. I find what’s on the other side of this [sign] very offensive. But you have that right, but you are way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.

I’ve spent about seven years living in other countries. When we go to other countries, it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as ‘ugly Americans.’ This is why we hear it referred to as ‘ugly Americans,’ because we’re so concerned about our own rights, we don’t care about other people’s rights. As long as we get our say, but we don’t care about the other people’s say.

The judge’s distorted view of the first amendment was magnified by Elbayomy’s counsel, R. Mark Thomas who called this lecture “a good dressing down by the judge. The so-called victim was the antagonist and we introduced evidence that clearly showed his attitude toward Muslims. The judge didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done if I was in that position.”

I fail to see the relevance of the victim’s attitude toward Muslims or religion generally. He had a protected right to walk in the parade and not be assaulted for his views. While the judge laments that “[i]t’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others,” that is precisely what the Framers had in mind if Thomas Paine is any measure.

Notably, reports indicate that Elbayomy called police because he thought it was a crime to be disrespectful to Muhammed. The judge appears to reference this by noting that in some countries you can be put to death for such an offense. Those countries are called oppressive countries. This is a free country where it is not a crime to insult someone’s religion — despite a counter-trend in some Western countries.

I also do not see how the judge believes that he has the authority to tell a religious critic that “before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it.” Let alone call a person a “doofus” because he opposes religion.

To make matters worse, the judge is reportedly threatening Perce with contempt for posting the audio of the hearing.

The reference to the cultural motivations for assaulting Perce seems to raise a type of cultural defense. I have spent years discussing this issue with state and federal judges on the proper role of culture in criminal and civil cases. This is not a case where I would view that defense as properly raised. There are certainly constitutional (and yes cultural) norms that must be accepted when joining this Republic. One is a commitment to free speech. If culture could trump free speech, the country would become the amalgamation of all extrinsic cultures — protecting no one by protecting everyone’s impulses. Those countries referenced by the court took a different path — a path away from civil liberties and toward religious orthodoxy. It is a poor example to raise except as an example of what we are not. The fact that this man may have formed his views in such an oppressive environment does not excuse his forcing others to adhere to his religious sentiments.

Martin’s comments also heighten concerns over the growing trend toward criminalizing anti-religious speech in the use of such standards as the Brandenburg test, a position supported by the Obama Administration.

There are legitimate uses of the culture defense. However, when it comes to free speech, that is not just our controlling constitutional right but the touchstone of our culture.

I can understand the judge’s claims of conflicting testimony on the crime –though it seems to be that the officer’s testimony and the tape would resolve those doubts. However, I view this as an extremely troubling case that raises serious questions of judicial temperament, if not misconduct.

Source: ABC

324 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Judge Throws Out Charge For Harassing Atheist While Calling The Victim A Doofus

  1. I wonder if a Muslim atheist zombie was attacked, if it would make a difference?

    The right to ignore stupid is also the right to peacefully assemble….

  2. The judge is a doofus. He should be removed. I wonder if he would have also dismissed if some Opus Dei clown had attacked the zombie pope or if he would have been OK with that charge.

  3. I’ve had some interesting experiences in Pennsylvania Unified Court System. The judges in the Courts of Common Pleas are generally pretty competent people with law degrees. The ones at the magisterial district level as in this case — not so much. They are not even required to be lawyers and many are not. They are magistrates in most every sense but handle “minor” cases. They are a good argument agianst popular election of judges. There is a reason they call the district courts “minor” courts.

  4. Bron,

    Do you really think that the actual of incarceration is best served for each and every crime committed? If so make sure you keep your automobile paperwork with you at all time…. Some offenses for not having them with you are impoundment of your vehicle and a year’s incarceration plus fines and costs….

  5. bron:

    “Do you need to be a lawyer to know the attacker should have gone to jail?

    ******************

    In this society- with minds clouded by religious delusion — you probably need a good lawyer for most everything.

  6. Simple solution, remove the cretin from the bench and he can go to a country that will allow him to practice his special brand of ignorance.

  7. Mespo:

    why do you think we are, as a society, becoming more mystical and abandoning reason? What is pushing mysticism in this society? I see it all around me, the Twilight Saga, the TV shows, books, you cannot escape it, it seems to envelope us.

    Plato seems to be winning the philosophical battle. Which really isnt left vs. right but mysticism vs. reason.

  8. This judge needs to be removed from the bench. If he wants to enforce sharia/ Muslim laws then he needs to relocate. Westboro Church is allow to say horrible things about gays and our soldiers under 1st amendment. I don’t necessarily agree with what the atheist did but assault is against the law and I don’t care what religion you are. This is America and people are not jailed,stoned or put to death over insulting a religion. If this country starts making decisions like this judge did then there can be nothing but trouble in our future. This whole tolerance thing is getting out of control and the only group that is suppose to have tolerance is the Christians
    . The religion that is suppose be most tolerance and peaceful is one of the most violent and unforgiving group of people I have every seen.

  9. Bron:

    “why do you think we are, as a society, becoming more mystical and abandoning reason? ”

    ***************

    That’s exactly what I think. Angels, vampires, ghost whispering shows, fairy tales on network TV, religiosity to insane levels, annihilation spoken of as with a video game, and every other manner of immaterialism (as Jefferson would say) shows me we don’t like the world we’ve got so we’ll retreat into another. About the only place where reality and reason rule most of the time is at the courthouse so that’s where I prefer to be –call it a retreat into reason.

  10. “However, when it comes to free speech, that is not just our controlling constitutional right but the touchstone of our culture.

    Seems to me the atheist, dressed as a creepy Prophet, set a trap and first, Elbayomy, then District Judge Mark Martin walked right into it. There were definitely a couple of doofuses in that court room.

  11. It’s judges, dicta from the bench and decisions like this that cause other intolerant idiot politicians to embark on a campaign to pass laws to forbid application of Sharia law in the USA. This judge deserves to be removed from the bench ASAP because he does a grave disservice to the America given us by our Founding Fathers, just as the extremist right-wing Fundamentalist Christians endanger our Constitution and our nation with their attempt to force religion into politics and government.

  12. It’s a shame that, the defendant having been acquitted, the criminal case is over. He’s certainly not going to appeal. The state can’t. All the victim can do for sure is sue his assailant. I’m not sure he even has standing to file a complaint against the judge, as he wasn’t a party to the case.

  13. This judge is quite frankly an idiot. There is no equivocation on that judgment of mine. If his ruling were to become codified into the “law of the land” all religions would have free speech rights, but all citizens would be constrained from any religious criticism for fear of offending the religious.
    Beyond that though the judges decision legitimized physically attacking someone as they are exercising their free speech rights. This would be the beginning of religious vigilantes that would be akin to the NAZI Brownshirts.
    The judge should be removed from the bench simply based on this ruling alone.

    “why do you think we are, as a society, becoming more mystical and abandoning reason? What is pushing mysticism in this society?”

    Bron,

    Let me attempt a brief answer to this. My opinion is that the pace of technological and scientific advancement has come upon us so rapidly that many humans are unable to adjust to it and seek to return to older less complicated ways of viewing the world. Increasingly rapid change is upon us and we must adjust to it. Many are unable to adjust and so look for alternatives to stave off the results of inevitable change.

  14. The ruling is wrong, for sure. This type of speech should be protected by the First Amendment.

    That doesn’t change the fact that provocative, hate-motivated Atheist groups like this are barely any better than Westborough Baptist Church.

    They guy is a doofus, but the First Amendment is the law…

  15. The Mohammed zombie was not “harassed” he was assaulted, and for that the muslim attacker should have been punished. What if he bloodied the victim, would that still be excusable? Or how about a knife? Gun?
    What this judge did, was set a precedent that muslim violence over Islamic ridicule is acceptable and excusable.
    Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  16. If the chicken shit had had balls he would have done something. I think the damn rag head got away without getting his diaper wrapped around his neck and tied to a tree. Chicken shits in power do chicken shit things.

  17. The judge’s address is shown on the video:

    Judge Mark Martin
    507 N York St
    Mechanicsburg, PA

    I plan to let him know what I think of his ruling. I agree with those who say he should be removed from the bench, adding, he should never again be allowed to run for or be appointed to a judgeship His religion should not be used to make excuses for the criminal who attacked this man. .

    Can the victim contact the police dept that handled this and insist that a charge of assualt be entered against the criminal?

  18. Spinning further on epochal changes requiring adjustment (not to speak of re-education, etc.:

    Some have studied this phenomena. They have come from that “epochal changes” require about 100 million man-years of effort. A consequence of the increasing number of “effective persons”, makes the time between epochs shorten, putting considerable stress on society expressed in all its forms: commerce, law, government, the human components, logistics, food supply, customs, education, culture, etc.

    The one component least adaptive is religion, or the world we grew up in and its customs, rules, habits. Changing a program is easy, a religion less so.

    This will face us more and more as the tempo of epoch changing picks up.
    Human can be likened to laptops or smart phones; as soon as they go out of the store (the university) they are obsolete.

    So you’r 35 now, sorry, time for re-tooling. Your kids can continue but you’re going to the re-tooling community.

  19. This judge is operating from a very dangerous ideology. The atheist should appeal the case immediately and have this judgment overturned.

    The judgment is basically that the muslim man’s physical contact with the atheist was justified based on the fact that the atheist’s speech or intended message was offending to the muslim.

    Think of how this could be applied to the workplace, domestic law, etc. You’re muslim wife somehow makes fun of Jesus. So since you’re a Christian and are offended by what she did, you are permitted by law to lay hands on her. She is then scolded by the judge as being a doofus and that she should learn a little bit more about Christianity before she does something like that in the future.

    This judge is ruling on pure personal interest and emotion. It is a power trip. The law had no bearing on this ruling whatsoever.

  20. An admittedly cursory viewing (I can’t stand too much) of ultra-conservative websites reveals this is a “hot button issue” on First Amendment grounds too. Backing the rights of atheists? Saints preserve us!

    Now it may be jingoism masquarading as Madison’s prose but ,regardless, it is something we can all agree on even in this polarized country.

    Bravo Jimmy, you and Tommy may really have written down some magic.

  21. A not-over-here point:
    Swedish law allows the victim to appeal not-guilty judgements. And the prosecutor has also that right. The appeals court are bound to review, but the Supreme Court may refuse as having no judicial interest (precedent, etc.).

    We don’t have elected uneducated judges here. Although we do have laymen whose opinions can overrule a judges sitting on the bench.
    Laymen are not part of the appeal system.

    Victims or ther standins (near relatives) seldom seek retrial at higher instance.
    But then we don’t sue doctors, lawyers, or corporations so much either.

  22. I said that the atheist should appeal the decision, but since this is a criminal case, that is impossible. The Muslim walks unscathed, period. The atheist should file a civil suit.

  23. Using the comment “he said she said” it appears that the attacker is claiming there was no physical attack. Now, I wonder what oath the attacker took in court. The followers of Mohammad are encouraged to lie if it protects or furthers Islam. It would seem a knowledgeable Judge on Islamic fundamentals would make comment on that.

  24. What gives in Penn?? The arresting officer appears to be acting as the prosecuting attorney. I didn’t know we had anything like this in the States. It also seems, based upon the cop’s questions he was trying to slander the victim. The defendant is treated with kid gloves during questioning. Freeky.

  25. Seamus,
    Did you check how the arresting officer prays?
    Hizonnor, doesn’t know beans about Islam after some years there. He is brainwashed, mostly self-inflicted. A sharia judge has yeeeeaaaarrrsss of study, and then a long qualifying period. What did this humperdink do to become judge.
    Pay some pals to twist arms and a friendly Imam to pray for him
    Exaggerations? Maybe not.
    Elected judges, that’s like hereditary kings. Intolerable.
    Now my friend the butcher is a nice candidate. He eats it rare.

  26. Wow, a religious idiot almost destroyed our constitutional protections because he’s a biased religious idiot and lets someone go for assault. OMG. And then criticizes America. So unamerican it’s ridiculous.

  27. “All the victim can do for sure is sue his assailant.” (Harley)

    … and post the audio of the hearing … what was a nothing case in a nothing court room is now national news … snap goes the trap. Technology rules … Judge drools.

  28. I always thought that using religion or religious statements to defend an action not otherwise considered the practice of said religion was church-in-state. “due to your faith, and from the point of view of [religion], he is allowed to break the law and interfere with your constitutional rights”?

  29. while i agree the judge was incorrect in his ruling some of the comments here lead me to believe that had ernie dressed as zombie jesus some of the commenters might have been his attackers.

  30. I think this muslim judge figured he could get away with this kind of ruling because we have a “Muslim” in the White House.

  31. i can’t believe this. this is absolutely infuriating.

    if a follower of other faith had attacked that man, he would be charged. but since it’s the religion of peace, and this convert judge was presiding, HE GOT TO WALK AWAY! this is sharia in america, and the judge plainly says so.

    i’m an atheist who supports freedom of religion and freedom from religion. but islam is a pernicious political ideology that imposes itself through stealth jihad, and now we have irrefutable evidence of it. i wish more liberals (and i am one) would finally realize this and stop making excuses for it! why are republicans only speaking about this?

    this man needs to be removed from the bench IMMEDIATELY. this case must be appealed. if catholics, christians, jews, hindus, and buddhists can control themselves in the face of criticism, muslims are expected to as well. there is no special law for special groups of religion.

    the entire national media should be enraged about this.

  32. One thing that seems to have been missed in all the comments is that the judge totally negates the belief system and the culture of the Atheist; essentially making him a non-person in the eyes of the law – an “untouchable” at the very bottom of society.

  33. You are never really “free” in any Muslim country, no matter how liberal or open-minded they might appear to be. I lived in Egypt, Kuwait, and Turkey for several years but the premise with them is still the same. Islam trumps everything and insulting Muhammed is the biggest no-no of them all. Islam is more than just a religion; it is a political ideology that most of them live and breathe on a daily basis.
    As for the judge himself, he is an absolute disgrace. He needs to be removed from the bench and stripped of his job. If he becomes a model for other Muslim judges (born or revert), then they could pretty much find any reason to use Shari’a as an excuse for letting Muslims get away with any misdemeanor to felony crime.

  34. The Pilgrims escaped Europe and came to America to get away from archaic religious dogmas that was suffocating their spirit and now Islam wants to bring back the same dogmas under Sharia law.

  35. BBABBINS,
    —-And then criticizes America. So unamerican it’s ridiculous..

    Well be glad he did not bring up the usual argument that America creates the most criminals in the world; and executes the most per capita (fortunately some states who abstain help our statue).
    They then point with pride to their “neighbor watch thy neighbor” society, and note that crime rates are low, and executions also.

    Sometimes statistics tell both lies and truths. Figure that.

  36. BillBabbins,
    regarding biased religious idiots on the bench…….

    We don’t have any Christian religious nuts on the other benchs here in America. Right?

    Not hackin’, just asking.

  37. I know as an academic it is important to try to remain impartial and to present all sides to an issue, but I think in this case the professor is rather too temperate with this case. Clearly, this ruling is not only wrong, but rather outrageously so, and no trained lawyer sitting on the bench would ever have tried to make that ridiculous statement concerning the First Amendment. I suppose in some ways the case is irrelevant, as it will automatically be overturned, or if for some reason it is not appealed, will have no precedential value, but its still obviously just flat out wrong. Saying its “surprising” or that it “raises questions” is missing the point: its flat wrong on the law and has no chance of standing.

  38. “Angels, vampires, ghost whispering shows, fairy tales”

    This is all fiction, if people are inclined to believe it is real it is because they have been conditioned to over millennia of belief without evidence. I love me some fantasy fiction, be it Harry Potter, Toliken, the World of Darkness RPG setting, or Anne Rice, but I don’t believe any of that is real. Devotion to the mystic is nothing new and certainly not because of these shows and books.

    As for this incident, how this is even a question for anybody (clearly it is not for the Professor or most of us) is beyond my ability to understand. This judge needs to be removed from the bench and frankly, if he is a lawyer, I would wonder (not having more than a pre-law understanding of such issues) if it would be grounds for some punitive action by the PA Bar.

  39. Maybe JT is reserving the breast tone words for bigger game or games.

    I share your outratge, you and I would have attacked the bench, seized the guard’s pistol, and shot six musky men, all atheist supporters, in the public, saving the day for the first amendment.

    Guaranteeing national attention to this critical case.

  40. pete
    1, February 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm
    while i agree the judge was incorrect in his ruling some of the comments here lead me to believe that had ernie dressed as zombie jesus some of the commenters might have been his attackers.
    *************************************
    Offended, Yes, but when christians are offended, we are not taught to start assaulting or killing people (like Theo Van Gogh, or the cartoon riots).

    While I may believe that athiets are wrong… that is their choice.
    I also support muslims who respect other right to believe differently and don’t believe it is their duty to spread their religion by force and intimidation.

  41. The 1st amendment only applies to government action, thus it doesn’t apply here at all. Private citizens can take offense to any speech and restrict it anyway they want. A private citizen making speech in a public setting generally requires a permit in order to gain government protection, otherwise, any offending party is supposed to be removed at the request of another citizen.

    The issue here is whether an assault took place, and whether an assault is justified. Here the “victim” was antagonizing another citizen who reacted. When judging the case, the law has to look at the entire situation as to why an attack took place. If a reasonable person would be offended or attack, then that has to be taken into consideration.

    Now I understand the main point of this story is to rouse up a bunch of whining and hate towards Muslims. I get that, but when you start bringing law into the equation, I’m a lawyer, I’ll think of it legally. Most of what a judge says is worthless and generally only the holding matters. At this level, even that doesn’t really matter as it’s not going to shape law anyway.

    Sure you can try to appeal on error, but what would the appeal be on the grounds of? You’d have to show that the First Amendment tangent was somehow reversible error. Instead it looks harmless to me since the legal analysis is supposed to be purely on assault, and here the judge indicates it is justified based on the victim’s antagonization. I would assume that the attacker is required to pay a fine and maybe gets probation, and that’s pretty much it at most. A judge can of course completely wipe out any penalty, and has that discretion.

    If you haven’t practiced law or actually understand any of this, maybe you shouldn’t try to comment on the legal system.

  42. Ryx…

    So, let me see if I understand you. I have always been offended by flag burners. If I see one in public I can legally beat them up? As long as I’m offended? Thanks.

  43. Beverlee: Let’s say you are a war veteran or something like that. Somebody insults you on the street and burns the US flag right in front of you, antagonizing you.

    You get mad and charge the guy in rage.

    That has to be taken into account because it’s so offensive and it’s a deeply tied part of you as a person.

    As I wrote above, I would expect, as long as you don’t cripple the guy or cause permanent or serious damage, the judge will take that into account because I see plenty of assault charges dropped or just made into violations which you pay a fine on. Also you need a good lawyer that can argue it, I tend to do very well in that regard so that’s my personal experience.

    If you have a crappy lawyer that doesn’t know how to emphasize arguments in your favor to take advantage of any wiggle room, then no, you probably won’t get away with it at all.

    I’m former military myself, I would charge a guy burning a flag.

  44. “A private citizen making speech in a public setting generally requires a permit in order to gain government protection, otherwise, any offending party is supposed to be removed at the request of another citizen.”

    Not true. The act of removing the speaker would involve state action (police), thus triggering the speaker’s First Amendment rights.

    Now, about the assault. § 2701. Simple assault.
    (a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of assault if he:
    (1) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or
    recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
    (2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a
    deadly weapon;
    (3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear
    of imminent serious bodily injury; or

    So, let me see if I have this right, if a bystander stranger is offended by someone’s speech he can assault him and successfully assert a defense of “I was offended”. Wow, I suppose devout Christians who oppose gay marriage are free to do some serious ass-whooping at the next gay pride parade in Pennsylvania. How dare those gays antagonize Christians. Say, I have an idea, why don’t we let some Jews march in a parade in support of Israel and invite a large group of Palestinians to watch. Should make a great youtube video.

  45. “That has to be taken into account because it’s so offensive and it’s a deeply tied part of you as a person.”

    No, Ryx, it doesn’t have to be taken into account. This is well-established by the various rulings regarding the Westboro Baptist Church and their hate spew. There is nothing in law that allows you to attack another person because of their speech. What you are allowed to do is lodge a complaint with the police. Anything further is not only assault, it is a violation of someone else’s Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.

  46. pete
    1, February 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm
    while i agree the judge was incorrect in his ruling some of the comments here lead me to believe that had ernie dressed as zombie jesus some of the commenters might have been his attackers.
    *************************************

    Get off your high horse… there was a zombie Pope standing right next to him. Zombie Jesus is actually a very old meme. Not every religious freedom issue needs to be amended with “but… but… Christians are bad tooooooo!!!”

  47. Yeah, that’s some lawyering you’re doing there, Ryx.

    You simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    Free speech does not apply only to governmental action. It’s a fundamental inalienable right that runs with the individual. With the notable exceptions of slander and libel and speech that is criminally prohibited like threats of imminent violence or inciting a riot, damn near all content and form of free speech is protected including speech critical of religion. I’m free to say whatever I like about any religion I care to speak about and as long as I’m not committing slander, libel or criminally inciting a riot, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’m free to say what I like, you’re free to be as offended as you like, but you are not allowed to try to silence me yourself using violence unless you want to suffer the legal (and likely physical self-defense) consequences. ? It will end badly for you. Offer a rebuttal if you’re so offended. You’re free to do so and no one can stop you.

    In addition to the comments of other posters regarding the ridiculous nature of your statements, I’ll add that flag burning is also protected free speech. United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).

    How’s that claiming to be a lawyer thing working out for you on a site frequented by actual lawyers and other legal professionals, Ryx?

  48. Gene H:

    If all our military has the totalitarian mindset that ol’ Ryx has, then maybe we need a militia system. Madison and Jefferson wee probably right about the dangers of a standing army.

  49. Ryx,

    If you are indeed a lawyer I pity your clients. You are tacitly approving assault upon those with whom someone disagrees. Assault is an unlawful act, in and of itself and mitigating it because of becoming angry at someones actions is not a defense, if the assault was unprovoked by threatening behavior. If there was threatening behavior the self-defense could be raised as justification and/or mitigation. This was clearly not the case here.

    Also you narrowly defining that free speech pertains only to governmental interference is likewise an absurd position for someone purporting to be a lawyer. Were this the case then Islamic, Christian or Jewish Fundamentalist gangs could roam our streets attacking those they perceive acting offensively towards their religious beliefs. Is this really the America you envision?

  50. Ryx,

    You are doing a fine job. I admire you for your convictions to your clients. Long live the sovereign. Don’t let the nana donothings get to you.

  51. The one who is doofus is the one who attached the human with a costume. The Muslim attaching him shows that they act like the humans that cried out in a loud voice saying crucify him to Jesus. When will the Muslim humans wake up realizing: satan – sheitan is the one they are following the Koran, and not God by any name..The law of love your neighber is not in the Muslim because it is not taught in that demonic book. It was good that the judge threw out the case. it would have been better if he kept his trap shut after That.

  52. mespo,

    Madison and Jefferson were right about so much, but I’ve always felt their observations about the dangers of a standing army were prescient.

  53. I’m interested in knowing if anything is being done about this? Has the judge been censured? Is the defendant receiving legal assistance from the ACLU, or perhaps some private individual seeking to defend his rights against this unbalanced judge?

  54. Gene H. and the guys,
    I hope he is bleeding from an appropriate orifice now.
    Haven’t seen the ladies, but I guess they don’t like to see judicial murder being done. (Now, no stoees please ladies. Am sure your moral nails are long enough to claw him a new one)

  55. for shame, turley. your interpretation of what happened in this case is extremely misleading, and is prompting thousands of frothy internet commenters on yahoo and the like to scream about the terrors of creeping sharia. you don’t have to look very hard to see that the case turned on burden of proof–all the talk about the first amendment and the culture of muslims was either dicta or about the intent of the muslim “attacker.”

  56. Surely, this has to be reviewed by a higher judicial authority, either in Pennsylvania or on a Federal level, in light of the obvious biased judgement that introduces religion into the rights’ arena of law in this country.
    If this judge wishes to continue being a judge, he either needs to take constitutional law over again or move to a muslim-centric country where his particular brand of judgement is the law of the land, however disgusting we find it to be here in these United States.
    sharia law is not the law of the U.S. and should never be brokered as being an alternative form of judicial involvement in criminal or civil cases. I hope this judge is disbarred for his particularly offensive form of jurisprudence and I would look into all other judgements he’s made since declaring himself a muslim, as he obviously is against U.S. law.

  57. The judge chose to completely not even consider the Police officer as a witness and perhaps the statements of others. Traffic tickets have less burden of proof.

  58. The memeplexes are frakin. This was the whole point of Ridicule D’Prophet. The judge is too infected with his own mind virus to protect the container in which these nonsense memeplexes are supposed to be allowwd to exist.

  59. “Zombie Mohammed” Judge Responds

    This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

    Interesting if really from the judge.

  60. Very very worrisome. What is being done about this? Why isn’t the ACLU stepping in to appeal? The first amendment is the cornerstone of freedom in the USA…to rule has he did is a travesty.

  61. everyone’s focusing on the judge
    yeah he was wrong
    but these people are douche bags
    so these so called Atheist are uniting to form a band of uncertainty to parade the streets just make fun of religions?
    they say religions start wars but obviously atheist go out looking for wars as well
    south park anyone?

  62. If it is suddenly illegal to protest or disagree with a religion then that immediately makes anyone that reports on Catholic priest molesting kids, or condemning the Inquisitions and political manipulations a criminal. It starts with letting a Muslim criminal go free and censuring the atheist, but soon begins to effect everyone.

  63. Did it ever occur Judge Mark Martin that this was a case where he maybe should have recused himself? He seems to have put his religion before the law. Would this judge have ruled the same if Talaag Elbayomy had stabbed, shot, or beheaded Ernie Perce for “insulting” the Prophet? Where does Judge Martin draw the line?

    The reality is Mohammed, Allah, Yahweh, Jesus Christ, or God Almighty does not need Mr. Elbayomy, me, you, or anyone else to defend His honor.
    This insane compulsion about needing to rise up in violence whenever a Koran is burned, or an image of the Mohammed the Prophet is displayed, pales in comparison with the indiscriminate bombings, burnings, and shootings carried out by Muslim fanatics against innocent civilians… most of whom are Muslims themselves. The treatment of women and girls, by radical Muslims, has no place in a civilized society.

    For those of us who are not Muslim, we have seen — by the example of fervent followers of this faith — that this cannot be a religion derived from the teachings of any god.

  64. Do these so called “atheists” actually parade around united through uncertainty haha

    Most atheists I’ve ever talked to when they alone aren’t really atheist at all
    The are agnostic
    They just try to be cool in front of religious people
    They say religions start wars because of beliefs but atheist sure go looking for it very often when there supposed lack of beliefs are offended

  65. The judge involved has written: “This story certainly has legs. As you might imagine, the public is only getting the version of the story put out by the “victim” (the atheist). Many, many gross misrepresentations. Among them: I’m a Muslim, and that’s why I dismissed the harassment charge (Fact: if anyone cares, I’m actually Lutheran, and have been for at least 41 years).

    I also supposedly called him and threatened to throw him in jail if he released the tapes he had made in the courtroom without my knowledge/permission (Fact: HE called ME and told me that he was ready to “go public” with the tapes and was wondering what the consequences would be; I advised him again to not disseminate the recording, and that I would consider contempt charges; he then replied that he was “willing to go to jail for (his) 1st amendment rights”- I never even uttered the word “jail” in that conversation).

    He said that I kept a copy of the Quran on the bench (fact: I keep a Bible on the bench, but out of respect to people with faiths other than Christianity, I DO have a Quran on the bookcase BESIDE my bench, and am trying to acquire a Torah, Book of Mormon, Book of Confucius and any other artifacts which those with a faith might respect).

    He claims that I’m biased towards Islam, apparently because he thinks I’m Muslim. In fact, those of you who know me, know that I’m an Army reservist with 27 years of service towards our country (and still serving). I’ve done one tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq, and am scheduled to return to Afghanistan for a year this summer. During my first tour in Iraq, I was ambushed once, attacked by a mob once, sniped at once, and rocketed, bombed, and mortared so many times that I honestly don’t know how many time I’ve been attacked. Presumably by Muslim insurgents. My point: if anyone SHOULD be biased towards Muslims, one would think it would be me. I’m not, however, because I personally know or have met many good, decent people who follow Islam, and I shouldn’t characterize the actions of those who tried to kill me as characterizations of all Muslims.

    When I asked him why he dressed up as “Muhammad zombie,” he told me that it was because he was reflecting the Muslim belief that Muhammad rose from the dead, walked as a zombie, and then went to heaven. That was one of the reasons I tried to spend 6 whole minutes trying to explain and de-mystify Islam through my own knowledge, and in an attempt to prevent an incident like this recurring in my community. Unfortunately, the message was obviously not received in the vein that I had intended. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did use the word “doofus,” but didn’t call him that directly; I said something akin to “ if you’re going to mock another religion or culture, you should check your facts, first- otherwise, you’ll look like a doofus.”;

    In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

    A lesson learned here: there’s a very good reason for Rule 112 of Rules of Criminal Procedure- if someone makes an unauthorized recording in a Court not of Record, there’s no way to control how it might be manipulated later, and then passed off as the truth. We’ve received dozens upon dozens of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. There are literally hundreds of not-so-nice posts all over the internet on at least 4 sites that have carried this story, mainly because I’ve been painted as a Muslim judge who didn’t recuse himself, and who’s trying to introduce Sharia law into Mechanicsburg.”

    I am not related in any way to this judge.

  66. That’s what’s being reported, but I have strong doubts that it was actually written by the judge. In the audio recording, which is available on YouTube, he clearly and unequivocally states “I am a Muslim.”

  67. It would be nice to know how to fire this judge. Is not calling the victim a “doofus” in court the same thing as defamation of character? The judge is supposed to uphold US law, not the law of his religion. Would he not cry foul, and maybe even get rioting started if a judge of the Christian beliefs did to a muslim what he has done to this atheist? (yes, I did not capitalize “muslim” on purpose)
    If the judge is such a devout believer such as to put sharia law before American law, I wonder, does he hold to all of the teachings of his prophet? If so, does he have as many wives as the prophet did, and of the same ages at marriage as the prophet had? Look it up, readers, you might find it interesting to know the age of one of his wives. While this religion does not do this anymore, the question arises, on whose authority? What influence came from where to change all of this? Might it be that the change came as a result of British influence in the region? If the laws of the religion are so changeable, then how does one know they are doing the right thing at any given time? So far as the prophets marriages, one source, which used the history of the religion, has held by the religion, is from a book, “Unveiling Islam”, which was written by 2 Pakistani brothers, who were raised in the religion.
    Folks, it isn’t the peaceful religion that people think it is, and the judge needs to find a different job.

  68. The citation was for harassment, not assault. The judges reasoning for dismissing this we must guess at, but a lack of continuum of behavior must be suspected. The assertion that he applied Sharia Law in that is unsupported.

    He lectured the doofus about his behavior doesn’t seem out of line to me. There are limitations on freedom of speech. “Fighting words” and inciting a riot. At minimum, the man deserves to be informed that his actions might cause him trouble.

    BTW, somebody cited Logan’s Warning as a source of their information. Curious about what that was, I googled it, and got this:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=logan%27s%20warning

    Ha!

  69. While I don’t support violence as a reponse to insults, but I agree with the judge that the nihilist shouldn’t be protected by the first amendment here. Pray tell, what sophisticated and no doubt enlightened point could he be trying to make? I think the Muslim should get time for assault, and the nihilist should get time for conspiracy to incite a riot.

  70. everyone is being little bitches
    “oh wahhh the judge called him doofus boohoo” the guy should gotten his ass kicked for being a douche trying rile people for no good reason

  71. Hate motivated atheists? Really? You are another poster child for what’s wrong with religion. I am an atheist in every sense of the word. But it’s not hatred of religion that drives my beliefs, or lack thereof. It is fear. Quite frankly religion scares the hell out of me and I despair for my children. Here are countless numbers of people that cannot be reasoned with, and are seemingly willing to believe whatever is told them provided it fits within their carefully constructed framework of reality. Sure, there are religious practitioners willing to listen to arguments and apply reason to their own. But sadly, these are the statistically insignificant few. In the end, it’s the slack jawed masses that rule the day. Someone said that one of two things will happen first, the end of religion or the end of the human race. Let’s just say it’s not looking good for us. This idiot judge is not the first, nor will he be the last to try to apply religious beliefs to matters of state. It will only get worse, far worse, before it ever gets better (if we make it that long). Some of you will think this is a problem only because he was not applying the correct religious beliefs. If only he applied some good old Christian sense to the case it would be much more just. But be honest now, the first time a judge tells you you’re guilty because God wills it, do you really think you’ll care which one?

  72. I don’t know where Martin got his version of the judges defense, but on the tape and transcript the judge clearly state he is a Muslim. So the judge is simply lying and he clearly disregarded the testimony of the cop who said the Muslim man DID have physical contact with the atheist and admitted it to him. So the judge held that the victim and the cop were lying, and an agitated outraged Muslim man did not attack the guy. If you can believe that one, I have a bridge in Brookly for sale.

    I know that the Muslim guy cannot be tried again, but I think that a felony charge of perjury is easily pursued since the guy lied about his physical contact with the atheist and there is a video tape and the cops testimony to back it up. It would be a good education for this immigrant, and we can get rid of him if he is convicted and deport him after he gets out of prison. WE do NOT need such immigrants in this country. He can return to wherever he came from and call the cops to jail blasphemers when he sees them.

    This judge needs to be gone ASAP.

  73. I also see that this ignorant judge never read the book, The Ugly American. The ugly American was the GOOD GUY by the way. Incredible that he is on any bench or considers himself a literate man.

  74. Excellent comments! We are really on a slippery slope when in America any judge can get away with justifying and excusing religious fanaticism or even worse censuring the victim. The “religious right” have been slowly taking over the Republican Party for the past 30 years. How much longer will it be before they are the ones in control and their interpretations of “God’s law” are applied to our society? It seems that we are approaching that very thing, and quite quickly too.

  75. Oh good. That means that when I punch this judge in the face for insulting MY deep rooted culture of freedom of expression and equal protection of the law, I won’t face criminal charges. Right?

  76. Judge Martin should not be merely removed from the bench, he should be sanctioned by the Bar for violations of the ethics rules.

    He certainly needs to take some time off from this profession and revisit the constitutional law course, which he obviously did not properly study, or he forgot. Hopefully Mr. Perce’s attorney filed an ethics complaint with the Bar as to Judge Martin.

    As an immigrant, I’m all for multicultural awareness and respect for other cultures, but this means Mr. Elbaymomy – as well as Judge Martin – should be respectful of the culture of this country, where they chose to live.

    Free speech is a fundamental part of this country’s culture, and if someone doesn’t agree with free speech he should just move elsewhere.

  77. Ryx, I’m inclined to agree with your position.
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I read: Congress. Via the 10th & 14th Amendment, we extend this to the States, and by extrapolation – to the people. Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD however, disagree.

    Westboro’s been successful in pressing for governmental protection of their bombastic treatment of veterans, the deceased, and their families.
    They haven’t faired so well when faced with organized protests and escorts. The rights of citizens to peaceably assemble (thus providing a cordon around the Westboro-types) has proven most effective.
    Westboro’s protected right of expression, meets the protected right of assembly. Neither organization is happy, but that’s how rights work.

    In this case, a Muslim in America is restrained from doing what a Muslim in Afghanistan would do – kill the American.
    Just look what (stupidly) burning Qur’ans did to endanger UN, NATO and US workers and troops in the past week.

    So, go ahead burn that flag, protest at that funeral, tear-up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night, march with a sign calling yourself Zombie Mohammed. If you get slapped, punched, or stripped-naked, you’ll either survive and take one for the team – or you’ll smarten-up and use a less confrontational form of protest in the future.

    To the Ryx-hater “real” lawyers:
    Your clients’ rights fail to trump my rights.
    Your client has the right to call Muslims and their revered Holy Men anything they want. They also have the right to have their asses kicked, and to press charges.

    There’s also the right to practice your religion without interference of the Government.
    That’s the free exercise clause, the clause most often ignored when citing “freedom FROM religion” purportedly contained within the First Amendment.

    Oh, and the cop acting as Prosecutor? Done in many States for infractions, traffic violations, and petty crimes rising to the lowest levels of misdemeanor, such as criminal mischief.

  78. yankeefarmer, you’re clearly not much of an intellectual so I’ll attempt to make this as monosyllabic as I can.

    You said….”smarten-up and use a less confrontational form of protest”?
    Ok, where to start. What form is considered less confrontational? Who decides what is less confrontational? What does smarten-up really mean and how does one do it? Exactly how much must one smarten-up to be within the legal definition of “smart”? You’ve done nothing more than legitimize what this “judge” did when he arbitrarily applied his own sense of ethics to an equation that does not really allow for variables. Certainly not of the sort you espouse. I’d call you an idiot but that might be considered too confrontational by some scale I’m not privy too. No, instead I’m going to smarten-up and just call you stupid. Do you think you should be able to strike me down with impunity from the law now? I suspect the answer is an unequivocal YES.

  79. tfs, thank you for an entertaining read.
    Your comment above:

    “I am an atheist in every sense of the word. But it’s not hatred of religion that drives my beliefs, or lack thereof. It is fear. Quite frankly religion scares the hell out of me and I despair for my children. Here are countless numbers of people that cannot be reasoned with, and are seemingly willing to believe whatever is told them provided it fits within their carefully constructed framework of reality.”

    adequately illustrates your desire for a First Amendment read that incorporates “freedom FROM religion”.
    There’s an amendment process to the Constitution, have at it.

    Just be apprised that you may be forced to compromise with the X-tian right, who will trade public iconolatry for erasing the Fourth Amendment with it’s extrapolation of personal privacy and the right of “choice” as defined by Roe v. Wade.

    Despite your obvious endorsement of my mental faculties, your comment:
    “(there) are countless numbers of people that cannot be reasoned with, and are seemingly willing to believe whatever is told them provided it fits within their carefully constructed framework of reality.”
    is rather accurate.

    We Americans enjoy several flavors of this – not all Tea-stained.

    “If everyone was disarmed, the criminals wouldn’t have a reason to shoot anyone.” – unless it was for jollies, or you looked at them, or didn’t comply fast-enough out of fear.
    A few choruses of We Shall Overcome, and they’ll no doubt leave us unharmed.

    “If we export our version of Democracy, these backwards countries run by religious zealots will welcome us with open arms.” – unless they’re countries filled with religious zealots, led by religious zealots.
    Plan B: Nuke ’em all?

    “Yes, but in killing these Iraqis, we’re saving the Iraqi people from the brutality of Saddam’s repression.”
    There’s a few hundred thousand people who might accept a little repression instead of the death we offered.
    Let’s hold a referendum.

  80. I still agree with the Judge. Morality is not based on what is allowed by the Constitution. It is clear the nihilist was trying to provoke violence. To what purpose, to cry about it later?

  81. Has anyone filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania judicial conduct commission about this? Any resident of Pennsylvania can do so.

  82. This Judge should have excused himself from this case. His job is to apply the law, not lecture a man about the Islamic way of life. I sincerely hope he will be removed from office. He doesn’t deserve to have such a pubblic position if he cant be impartial.

  83. “So, go ahead burn that flag, protest at that funeral, tear-up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night, march with a sign calling yourself Zombie Mohammed. If you get slapped, punched, or stripped-naked, you’ll either survive and take one for the team – or you’ll smarten-up and use a less confrontational form of protest in the future.

    To the Ryx-hater “real” lawyers:
    Your clients’ rights fail to trump my rights.
    Your client has the right to call Muslims and their revered Holy Men anything they want. They also have the right to have their asses kicked, and to press charges.’
    ——————————–
    so you are a mobster then?

    assault 1) v. the threat or attempt to strike another, whether successful or not…

    battery n. the actual intentional striking of someone, with intent to harm, or in a “rude and insolent manner” even if the injury is slight….

    menacing) displaying a weapon or a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in reasonable fear of physical injury or death.

    aside from being illegal these things are NOT NICE.

  84. I am more concerned with getting the Muslim attacker before a jury for perjury. That will be a felony charge too, and we can get rid of him if he is convicted. The charge should be easy to prove with the cops testimony that the attacker admitted doing so to him, and the video tape, and the defense attorney’s statement in closing that there MAY have been physical contact. I think a jury will be more swayed by the cop than the judge was. Can a private citizen bring criminal charges in PA?

  85. “If you get slapped, punched, or stripped-naked, you’ll either survive and take one for the team – or you’ll smarten-up and use a less confrontational form of protest in the future.”
    ———————————————

    dude

    this was not an international incident. In that we are all subject to the same rules, WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM

    smarten-up and use a less abusive form of getting your own way in the future.

  86. Also,
    “Here are countless numbers of people that cannot be reasoned with, and are seemingly willing to believe whatever is told them provided it fits within their carefully constructed framework of reality.””
    ————————————————————————–
    This has nothing to do with religion. This has more to do with the dumbing down of Americans and mis-leading people by getting them angry.

    Religion, or ‘Faith’ , in a religious context involves a deep (hopefully) understanding, recognition , and practice (behaviour)of ones own personal beliefs.

    Definition of RELIGION

    1 (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

  87. Chris1, February 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I still agree with the Judge. Morality is not based on what is allowed by the Constitution. It is clear the nihilist was trying to provoke violence. To what purpose, to cry about it later?
    —————————————————-
    Actually, Chris, the ‘nihilist’ may well have been attempting to exercise his free rights in order to assure the robust health of those rights and prevent them becoming lessened. There is a huge difference between nihilism and civil behaviour. And lots of things are lost if we don’t actually use them. At this moment in history our free speech rights are being sorely abused by the deaf ears of the courts. It is most important that we use our ‘civil vocabulary’.

    Occupy the Constitution

  88. Occupy the Constitution, it will not prevent you from exercision your Religious beliefs.

    But the violence and assault against others civil liberties may well undermine the Constitutional, Religious, and Legal rights of others.

  89. Woosty’s: You ask “are you a mobster then”? No, but I know/knew some over the years. As to not nice, it was illegal for the residents of New Hampshire to assault David Duke and his KKK followers at a rally years ago. The State Police “were helpless to intervene” as they were “overwhelmed by the number of assailants”. That will happen when you post a mere handful of Troopers.
    Mister Duke wrongfully felt the lack of a “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” by a state holding “Civil Rights Day” somehow indicated an endorsement of his racial prejudices. I do believe that was the last time Mr. Duke visited the Granite State.

    When does an Atheists right of expression become an act of cultural or racial hatred? Is it when the Atheist declares it so, or the offended party?
    If a white man goes up to an African-American and calls him “Nigger” is it a matter of Hip-Hop slang, and being “down with the experience”?
    Of does that African-American put a “keep your mouth shut Cracker” beat-down upon him?
    I’d wager, many here would see the African-American as justified, given multiple centuries of American racial prejudices.

    Yes, the Cracker – sorry, Peckerwood, again my apologies – the Caucasian fellow may press charges.
    I’m hard-pressed to see a jury of the African-Americans’ peers convict him of wrongdoing. A likely outcome would be for the presiding Judge to overturn the Jury’s verdict, and direct a finding of “guilty”. Thus employing more lawyers in an appeal.

  90. You all need to get a life. This judge is an MJD. Most of his time is occupied by moving along petty summary offenses and traffic-court tickets. Most of you are writing as if the 1st Amendment to the Constitution has somehow being seriously threatened by what this judge did. Please. And let’s remember what we’re talking about here. You’re complaining because the judge didnt find the Muslim-defendant “guilty” of harrassment. You’re somehow so offended that he found him “not guilty”. Really? It has you THAT up in arms? I didn’t realize that most of the posters on here were of such the “law and order” type that they’d take to the internet to protest a Muslim man that was found not guilty of harrassment after he pushed and shoved some jackass in a parade.

    Let’s be honest here. YES this atheist bonehead has the right to walk down the street and insult another person’s religion. And YES, he is legally protected against being harrassed for doing so. Anyone with half a brain and who grew up in the United States knows that. But, do you really have sympathy for this pompous ass? I don’t feel as if some great injustice has been committed because the man who pushed him went “unpunished”. In terms of what is philosophically “just”, maybe it makes more sense to just call it even.

    Moreover, half of the posters keep yelling “the judge should have recused himself!!!”. Really? Recused himself for what? He’s not a Muslim, and even if he were, that would not have been grounds for recusal. He wasn’t related to the defendant or the victim. I guess you mean because, AFTER the fact, in HINDSIGHT, it was apparent that the judge doesnt take kindly to pompous idiots that like to insult others and then run to the mommy and poppy cops when they get pushed around for doing so.

    Get a friggin’ life. While you sit around and contemplate and dwell on the legal implications of an MJD dropping a summary offense “harrassment” charge—of which there is NONE I might add—this judge is busy moving along his docket. Get over yourselves.

  91. In this case the judge went to great length to defend the attacker. Had the Judge listen to the case and came to the same conclusion, with out comment, one would be inclined to believe the judge did not feel there was substantial evidence. An apology by the attacker would have likely dismissed the action before trial. The attacker, at a minimum should have received a warning.

  92. I don’t think people even RELAIZE what this means…
    let me put this in SIMPLE TERMS
    am AMERICAN JUDGE, has declared in OPEN COURT that if islam is insulted TERROSIM is LEGAL and justified!

    to MICHAEAL who says SO WHAT ITS NO BIG DEAL because its a PETTY CASE, I guess for him to he concerned some one would have had to be KILLED.

    so micheal and others who say it is NO BIG DEAL, I say to you, just because you don’t care if your CONSTITUTIONAL rights are trampled don’t assume the rest of us DO NOT CARE

    its YOUR lacksidasical attitude towards our consitutional rights that are DESTROYING this country…

    rememeber these things don’t START as full blown federal cases, they START just like this, as LITTLE CASES that over time become the FOUNDATION to justify bigger cases!

  93. Apparently District Courts in Pennsylvania are not like regular criminal courts, they like what are called “Justice Courts” in other, usually rural parts of some states. A “Justice of the Peace” a local, elected official presides. Many states don’t require them to be lawyers. They handle traffic cases, or “citations” where the arresting officer acts as prosecutor to present the evidence. Sometimes these “judges” aren’t even paid, and sometimes, like in some rural counties they’re paid out of traffic fines,
    This District Court “Judge” Martin probably got elected by boasting about being a veteran of the Iraq War–without disclosing that he was a Muslim. I’m sure the next election he faces that issue will be front and center. Alternatively, if he is a lawyer and a member of the Penn bar–the victim can make a complaint to the bar to have the nitwit disbarred. The victim can always sue his attacker–I think he has a slam-dunk case. I’ll wager that he has already been contacted by many lawyers.

  94. The reason why people all over the country are up in arms about this is that it is part of a slowly creeping effort to overturn free speech rights. The Muslim man (defendant) by his own admission approached the gentleman (plaintiff) because he was insulted and felt that he had to do something to set an example for his son, defend his faith, and defend “his prophet.” The video evidence shows that he put his hands on him. A policeman who arrived at the scene was told by the defendant himself that he did so. The Judge was wrong because he (1) let a religiously-motivated crime go without punishment; (2) censured the victim by telling him he overstepped his rights because it offended Muslims; (3) the Judge admits in the audio recording “I am a Muslim” (despite a recent claim that he is a Christian – he says on the audio that he is Muslim) and encourages the defendant to continue doing what he is doing to defend his faith, and censures the plaintiff for exercising his first amendment rights. And yes, people do sympathize with the plaintiff. The speech that we as a nation protect most fervently is the speech that we disagree with the most. This Judge’s actions are very disturbing because his statement manifests a woeful lack of understanding of our Constitution and Bill of Rights and indicates that he cares more about defending faith than defending our constitution. If you’re interested in listening to the audio it is posted on YouTube under the title: “A muslim Judge, Zombie Muhammed goes to court against the muslim attacker”

  95. This is indeed troubling, if not utterly outrageous. Ernie Perce clearly has the FIRST AMENDMENT-secured RIGHT to publicly MOCK and/or RIDICULE any religion (or, more generally, set-of-beliefs or belief-system) he so chooses! And no adherent of a mocked or ridiculed belief-system has the right to assault such a person who is merely exercising such First Amendment freedom. It is LONG OVERDUE for Muslims to learn to (HAVE to) take public criticism (and/or outright mocking or ridicule) **in stride**. (Cf., e.g., btw, Sam Harris, *The End of Faith*). Sharia “law” simply does NOT “trump” basic human RIGHTS secured by the American Constitution! And for a Judge to conclude otherwise is *ipso facto* sufficient warrant for his impeachment and disbarment.

  96. For the record, the judge is NOT a muslim. He’s a Lutheran. Don’t believe everything you read. As to Mark Phillips comment, laced with useless legalese, to wit:

    “Sharia “law” simply does NOT “trump” basic human RIGHTS secured by the American Constitution! And for a Judge to conclude otherwise is *ipso facto* sufficient warrant for his impeachment and disbarment.adfadf”

    I say “whatever dude”. The judge didn’t apply any form of “sharia law”. You’re first amendment rights are still intact, MAN, even though a traffic court judge opted not to make a Muslim guy pay a fine. If you actually read the judge’s press release, btw, he apparently has a lot of respect for other religions and cultures—and I think that’s something worth promoting in this country.

    In the end I just don’t think this case was worth a full-blown prosecution. In fact I’m glad this Muslim guy pounced on this jackass.Just as I would be if another person pounced on the bigots who protest at military funerals with signs that read “God hates fags” and other hatred and venim.

    I absolutely agree that criticism of religion and culture is a right to be valued. That’s why I would be up in arms if this athetist protester that dressed like Muhammed was prosecuted for what HE did. But being upset because a Muslim guy pushed and shoved this loser and wasn’t prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law”? C’mon man. Look, if you want to stand up for idiots and bigots and religion haters in the name of first amendment be my guest. That’s what your doing when you come out and stand up for this atheist clown. But in my mind it’s that guy who needs to learn a thing or two about tolerance in this country, not the Muslim man. Technically (legally) speaking, maybe there was enough evidence to prosecute this Muslim guy. But from a moralistic perspective, I think the result of this case was just.

  97. Actually you’re mistaken. In the audio recording of the case (available on YouTube) the Judge states very clearly “I am a Muslim.” The belief that he is Lutheran is based upon a rebuttal of questionable provenance. If it is actually from the Judge then there is a serious discrepancy. Either he was lying about being a Muslim or lying about being Lutheran.

  98. Unless the audio was doctored, they judge states himself he is a Muslim. People, we are not forgetting this was a Halloween parade. This was not some guy going down a residential street last night. The Judge berated the victim and not once says anything to the attacker condemning his actions. This is not something that a court should have to settle, but it was asked too.

  99. One other point (apologies if it has been made) The entire decision/lecture is directed at the victim. Not once does the judge suggest to the defendant his actions are unacceptable or that he should learn the laws in this country. The closest he comes is saying “and no he shouldn’t be laying hands on you” I also wonder how often an officers testimony is given no weight…..

  100. I’m a devout Catholic and a big advocate of religion, but WTF, man?

    I’m perfectly okay with Atheists insulting my religion. It’s happened for centuries and it’ll continue to happen.

    On what authority does this judge have the balls to essentially flip the bird to the First Amendment?

  101. yankeefarmern, (sorry for the late reply)
    Wow, I guess I was wrong about your intellectual prowess. You’ve deduced much from extremely limited information. Of course, therein lies much of the problem but I won’t go there at this time.

    A fear of a thing is not a defacto endorsement of it’s purposeful and active eradication or suppression. ‘Freedom of religion’ is not mutually exclusive of ‘freedom from religion’. Both are imperative. I can not purport to be in favor of free speech only insofar as I agree with what is being said. No, the government must NEVER be permitted to suppress religious beliefs, any more than endorsing them. Some people much smarter than I long ago recognized the absolute need for the separation of church and state. We already know that the law is anything but “blind’. But throw religion into the mix and it will become much, much worse. To me, freedom from religion means that I am free to reject religious beliefs and not be subjected to them through the law. It’s the age old cliche’, I don’t like what you’re saying but I will fight for your right to say it.

    I fear rattle snakes, but, when I encounter one, I do not whip out my .357 and go to town on it. Nor do I attempt the eradicate the local snake population. Instead I avoid it and move on. I do not begrudge the snakes venom, I can only hope never to be bitten. In the same spirit I pray that sense will prevail and religion will vanish before it brings war to my doorstep.

    On a final note, I really have no idea if you’re stupid or not. Judging by your writing I suspect you’re not (I do not have nearly enough information to hazard any informed opinion either way). Nor do I know if you’re religious. My tone was provocative for a little experiment. I wanted to see if my offensive language would cause you grievous injury, thus warranting my immediate incarceration in the nearest federal jail. Is this the case? Or do you remain unharmed and free to go about your normal business? I’m still a free man so I suspect the latter. The nature of the offense, be it religious or personal, makes no difference. I have the right to piss you off or I don’t. So which is it?

  102. i will defend the judge on two counts. the first is that it doesnt sound like harassment, it sounds like battery. so harassment probably was properly dismissed. second, he appears to be overly influenced by his military days. he does not need to be fired. he simply needs to have an appellate judge tell him he is wrong, He has served his country and he deserves some consideration on that account. During that time of service you can bet he was heavily indoctrinated with these views by OUR military. Even with the current Koran burning it is hard to defend free speech, or koran burning, if the result is that dozens of people die. While I say that it is hard, I also believe that we need to accept that radical crazy people are going to die if we persist in allowing free speech.

  103. Ahh, Michael…

    I can only assume you don’t listen to your own words. How else can they be so contradictory and riddled with hypocrisy. This issue is not about the Muslim or the Atheist. It never was. It’s about one person attacking another in direct violation of the law. You claim to believe in the 1st amendment yet you give weight to the fact that the victim was an atheist and was doing something you don’t like. That would be called hypocrisy. I know you don’t see it. If the man had not been an atheist, and he was walking down the street proclaiming that all French people are stupid, would you feel the same way? Would you feel that a french man running over and kicking the sh*t out of him would be, at least to some degree, justified? I doubt it. But there can be no shades of grey here. This is the problem with religion and state. Religion is arbitrary by nature, the law can not be. The attacker in this instance had every right to dismiss the man as a moron and move on, scream epithets at him, or even try to reason with him. All acceptable courses of action. He does not have the right, at least in this country, to assault him no matter what form the perceived insult takes. I have an idea, before you write your next post, do something you may not have tried before. Think first.

    ps. Albert deesen, way to exercise your 1st amendment rights. Short and to the point. Nice.

    I almost forgot. Godzilla, if free speach was not hard to defend it probably wouldn’t be worth defending.

  104. godzilla321, February 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    *1)”i will defend the judge on two counts. the first is that it doesnt sound like harassment, it sounds like battery. so harassment probably was properly dismissed. ……..*2)it is hard to defend free speech, or koran burning, if the result is that dozens of people die. *3)While I say that it is hard, I also believe that we need to accept that radical crazy people are going to die if we persist in allowing free speech.

    ——————–
    1)*I agree

    2)*the people of this Country, the USA, have fought wars defending the Constitution and thier Constitutional right to free speech. Hard isn’t the part of the equation that is the issue. This judge appears to have undermined the Constitution….I think he dropped the ball…

    3)*what a stupid dumbass batshit faggotty black pigcop dickweed whoredungzombiepoo corporatelickass sellout skankbrained didisaysellout undermining cowardly asscumbag thing to say. You just undermined every soldier and citizen that ever lost thier life upholding my right to free speech and the Constitutional guarantee of it. You quite simply suck.

    Mostly though, you are wrong. Especially wrong in your statement #3…plus you are incredibly arrogant to assume that you have any part in ‘allowing’ my free speech. My free speech was bought and paid for over decades and centuries of hard work and the blood and sweat of Americans and the other free peoples of the world that believe in the right and have the courage to allow words and ideas across the gates of their own mouths. The major majority of whom exercise that right in a wholey responsible, positive and reciprocal manner, sans harmful intent or behaviour.

    You grossly undermining piece of shit.

  105. “But from a moralistic perspective, I think the result of this case was just.”
    ————————————————–
    no.

    If I say or even do something that is within my legal right to say and/or do, you do NOT have the moral highground or the right to put your fucking hands on me.

    Unless I am a 2 year old and about to run into traffic.

  106. Woosty,

    Some folks love waving flags, it gets the camera on them.
    And “their”version of the “truth” gets space.

    So glad you do such a good job.

    The last onw who ended citing morals—–soon as I read the word, realized he fucked all he may have said correctly before in his rant.

    Good work.

  107. Im calling them all day and complaining about this traitor!Cumberland County (09)
    District Court: 09-3-05
    Mark W. Martin
    Barclay Building
    507 North York Street
    Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
    Phone: 717-766-4575
    Fax: 717-766-2238

  108. Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. 18 USC 2381.

  109. “I don’t think you’re aware, Sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – I understand you’re an atheist – but see Islam is not just a religion. It’s their culture, their culture, their very essence, their very being.”

    Okay 1) this judge has a very poor grasp on how fundamentalist Americans practice their Christianity and 2) his implication that Christians have restraint and common sense, while Muslims are so completely defined by their religion that they are compelled to violently attack blasphemers, doesn’t speak well of him. Does he really think he is respecting Islam by giving Muslims a blanket excuse for religiously motivated violence?

  110. I agree with the judge. This guy is both a doofus and an asshole. There are other ways to fight for freedom FROM religion without going out of your way to insult and inflame people and hopefully this fool will find one. What an idiot.

  111. He didn’t go out of his way and it wasn’t a random protest. It was a Halloween party where adults and kids were all dressed up in costumes in a party atmosphere. There was also someone dressed up as a zombie Pope, but this guy dressed as a zombie Muhammad was the only one that was assaulted.

  112. Why Isn’t The Judge’s Photo In This Article??? People must be held accountable and when those in power do major violations such as this their photo should always be PROMINENT!!!!!!!!!

  113. Great. Does this mean I can beat up muslims who are dressed as zombie Christopher Hitchens?

    Does it also mean Christians are allowed to assault Seth MacFarlane for all the Jesus jokes in Family guy?

  114. I am not a muslium. And I do believe that the attacker should be charged. That being said, I really hope he got in a few good punches and that if he could have 30 minutes alone with that “guy” he would (I’m sure) gladly serve thirty day in jail! (and I would too!). He was wearing the “custom” to incite not for fun. You don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, why would you have the right to knowly cause distress!

  115. This means you can harass people as long as the judge shares your prejudicial views…next we will be able to beat and kill people, as long as the judge agrees that it is ok. This judge did not provide an impartial ruling and needs to go find some new work. The law says you don’t get to harass anyone for ANY REASON.

  116. No law gives any human being the right to harm another person for any reason in the U.S. except in self defense. But I guess if the judge thinks it’s ok,then excuse me as I go sacrifice my child on an alter.

  117. In some countries cannibalism was the cultural norm for thousands of years, I can see boat loads of south seas cannibals heading straight for Pennsylvania with extra big pots for cooking fat americans ;D

  118. When serving Jury Duty, you will inevitably get asked and/or reminded by by the Judge that you need to be able to make a decision based solely on the Law and not on our own interpretation or personal beliefs.

    This is called being unbiased.

    What a double standard. How DARE a judge bring his own beliefs and feelings and interpretations into a ruling, let alone insult the defendant. He should be removed from office, fined, and a complaint lodged with State Bar.

    However, that said, knowing that you live among religious extremists that believe depicting Mohammed in any form is legitimate reason to kill you, you may want to rethink your garb.

  119. “You don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, why would you have the right to knowly cause distress!”

    That is a nonsensical analogy. Yelling fire in a crowded place is forbidden because people could get severely injured or killed, not because it offends some religious guy who might throw a hissy fit.

  120. RUSS, please, spend a few bucks for English lessons.

    If you can’t see the stark contrast between shouting fire in a theater and annoying a person on the street then perhaps finally getting that GED might in order?

    “why would you have the right to knowly cause distress!”

    Seriously? That’s your question? Tell me, RUSS, what is distress?
    Is it having your religious deity mocked, or is it finding cream in your coffee when you ordered black? Perhaps it’s both? Or is there a line? If so then by all means, enlighten me as to where that line lies. Well, perhaps it’s best that we all say and do nothing for fear of causing distress. So lets all sit down, shut up, and stare straight ahead. And whatever you do, don’t fart on the bus.

  121. This is deeply disturbing. That judge should be fired immediately. It’s essential that Americans ridicule Islam, Christianity and all other religions as much as possible. That costume was mild stuff. We need to stand up for our rights as atheists and responsible citizens to fight the mental illness of religion.

  122. Clearly this is a travesty of justice: such prejudice and ignorance should not be allowed to occur-surely within American Law checks are in place?

  123. This “decision” was neither considered or lawful, to say nothing of the decent thing to do. Capitulating to superstitious hissy fits (and of course real violence we are all too familiar with, embassy anyone) is not the way forward. The freedom to voice an opinion is paramount in rational society, and to stifle it, least of all of religion, is a step back into the dark ages.

    This Judge needs to be made an example of and Muslims the world over need to grow up.

  124. “Personally, I agree with the judge. Dude was an idiot for dressing like that.”

    Too bad being an idiot isn’t against the law and critical speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.

    “Shut your whore mouth Richard”

    Proof that stupidity isn’t against the law and critical speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.

  125. “is this the for real trial recording???”

    Good point…..at this time there no confirmation the youtube video has been unaltered and that the “judge’s response” is genuine.

  126. Having read each and every comment, I find that I’m of the opinion that the judge ought to lose his job. He has set a very dangerous precedent in having lectured a victim as to the sensitivities of the a religious mind. Does he not understand that most Christians believe atheists to be no more trustworthy than violent criminals? See: http://www.christianpost.com/news/religious-people-trust-atheists-and-rapists-the-least-according-to-study-63652/

    Were I to be the victim, I would put into motion any and all legal action possible against this judge for contempt of court and/or harassment. Furthermore, I will continue to call the Mechanicsburg office and express my concerns.

  127. I gather this incompetent judge served in daddy Bush war? He’s 50ish years old ? Let’s paint a reasonable picture here: judge hears traffic court cases, domestic abuse, drunk & disorderly, typical magistrate stuff maybe even a few divorce trials & civil lawsuits of minor amounts of money….? Then American Atheist walks in, refuses to “swear to god” Muslim defendant is sworn to Allah? Cop is the only state witness, no prosecuting attourney, our Atheist had a lawyer? The perpetrator has an idiot lawyer. Victory for theocracy & violent believers. I’d like to see a court reporter’s transcript. Looks like there should be an ethics violation brought against this judge before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or the local bar association, incompetence & bias is grounds for disbarrment.

  128. this is not an isolated one of a kind theocracy case, cops & judges in Charleston, SC refuse to arrest or prosecute any tampon terrorists in front of the abortion clinic here…. no assault, no trespass, no vandalism no threat, intimidation or harassment PERPETRATOR has EVER BEEN ARRESTED IN 9 YEARS HERE while the doctor was arrested, posted 50 thousand dollars bond protecting himself from 3 stalkers in the bushes just 20 feet from his car, that case still pending, no trial since October of 2010 …. what matters is that religious fanatics do escalate their criminal actions, let them super glue abortion clinic locks 2 weeks in a row on a Saturday & HOW MANY OF THEM WILL drive from Kansas City to Topeka Kansas to murder another Doctor Tiller in his church the next morning ? 9 dead doctors families want to know and Atheists want to know why religious crime is sanctified & not convicted with stiff jail time 843-926-1750 … this muslim perpetrator should have been given a couple of days in jail & several hundred dollars fine to make all his brethren think twice about hurting an Atheist for telling the truth about the throat slitting religion inventing Mohammed @AtheistVet & @Greens926_1750 Larry_Carter_Center@yahoo.com eyewitness to criminal theocracy in America, Iowas’ Only Political Prisoner of Supreme Being Government 1990

  129. Removing the Judge from the bench is insufficient.
    He should be prosecuted for failing to enforce the constitution evenly for everyone without any religious test. What this moron did was ostensibly enforce Sharia Law!

    Pennsylvania… the state that gave us Santorum and Judge Mark Martin…two names that should live in infamy.

  130. Salam alaikum means “May peace be upon you”. Not that it has any bearing whatsoever but does further the idea that this judge is a Dumb Person.

  131. It does not violate the 1st amendment not to prosecute some. Cases similar to this, except for the subject matter, are dismissed all the time. If X calls Y a “bitch” and Y attacks X, but then the case get’s chucked, no one cries that X’s right to engage in free speech has somehow been violated because Y wasn’t found guilty.

  132. Riddle me this, if the atheist Zombie Muhammed had been BEATEN TO DEATH, rather than just assaulted, would the ‘cultural defense’ have held up against a murder charge, too?

    Methinks not. The judge should have recused himself on account of a pretty clear conflict of interest…

    I wonder, if the judge really is a Muslim but now claims not to be to avoid the political firestorm that could cost him his job, will his God throw him into some kind of fiery purgatory for eternity for denying his religion? Allah seems a rather wrathful and jealous God. I’m guessing he wouldn’t be pleased by a “fair weather follower”…

    Guess time will tell, eh?

  133. This comment is directed specifically at “tfs”, who above had this to say about my earlier posts:

    “You claim to believe in the 1st amendment yet you give weight to the fact that the victim was an atheist and was doing something you don’t like. That would be called hypocrisy. I know you don’t see it. If the man had not been an atheist, and he was walking down the street proclaiming that all French people are stupid, would you feel the same way? Would you feel that a french man running over and kicking the sh*t out of him would be, at least to some degree, justified? I doubt it. But there can be no shades of grey here.”

    Let me begin my saying that I entirely agree with your assessment of my bias tfs. If this man had been walking down street proclaiming that all French were stupid, of course I wouldn’t feel the same way. In fact, I’d likely agree with him, since no one likes the French anyway.

    Now, before you get your rocks off at your own pseudo-intellectualism, let me attempt to correct your misapprehension of my defense of this judge. I agree that this (clown of a) man had every right to offend and disrespect another man’s religion. I think all the poster’s on here agree that such activity, though disappointing, is protected right under the 1st Amendment. I also pointed out earlier that, if this man had faced prosecution in some way for his actions, I, too, would be up in arms at that blatant violation of his 1st Amendment rights.

    You’re defense of him appears to run much deeper though. You seem to be saying that, as an American, we should rejoice in his cause to see this Muslim man prosecuted. That he somehow is a great savior of our 1st Amendment rights;

    I think that is complete BS and irrational. I feel absolutely ZERO sympathy for this man. On a personal level, I’m glad the Muslim man was not prosecuted. Idiots like this atheist do nothing to advance a culture of understanding in this country. In fact, they hinder it in the name of exercising their right to free speech. It’s all well and good that he has a “right” to do what he did, but as a responsible CITIZEN–with rights and obligations to other members of this country—he shouldn’t have.

    And I’m not saying he should have refrained from such activity because of the “sensitive” Muslims. This has less to do with how the Muslim man reacted, and more to do with the state of American culture when people such as this man rejoice in the fact that they CAN legally do something so offensive.

    I can embrace the 1st Amendment but still feel disappointed in the results it produces. The Supreme Court recognized as much last year in the Wellboro Baptist Church case. You, and other posters on this board who so eagerly embrace this man, scare me. The fact that there has been so little recongition of the wrongness of this man’s actions, and the rallying cry to burn the judge at the stake, doesn’t bode well for the future of this country,

  134. @Michael – You seem to have misunderstood some very fundamental points. The man was taking part in a Halloween parade. Lots of people around the town were in this parade, everyone dressed up as something. This man merely dressed up as a zombie Muhammad. Another person dressed up as a zombie Pope. The Muslim individual who attacked him did so because he wanted to make an example for his son to see that it is important to defend your faith and punish heretics. This is a very dangerous perspective and can lead to murder. If this Muslim gentleman had had a gun he might have shot him. This wasn’t a random protest. The man should be prosecuted for his assault, and the judge should be disbarred for justifying religious violence. Nobody has the right to put their hands on another person with intent of violence. Now all that being said, why do you consider the atheist gentleman to be such a nuisance? More and more people see organized religion for the danger that it is. That doesn’t make him stupid, it actually makes him pretty smart.

  135. RE: Michael, who wrote – “Now, before you get your rocks off at your own pseudo-intellectualism, let me attempt to correct your misapprehension of my defense of this judge. I agree that this (clown of a) man had every right to offend and disrespect another man’s religion.”

    Michael, that you make an ad hominem comment against a man who was assaulted by a person espousing a very dangerous ideology may inform the casual reader as to a very interesting trend in American politics, as this pertains to a rise in theocratic sympathies. I do revere Thomas Cromwell, Baruch Spinoza, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon, Thomas Paine and a host of other great humans who contributed much to the intellectual pursuits of mankind. Were a person to dress as a Zombie form of any of these for a Halloween parade, I would do no more than smile, for such a gesture would be funny.

    Therefore, although I am a Catholic, I would consider a similar costume depicting Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Lazarus or any Old or New Testament figure as a similar stimulus for a smile.

    However, many particulars in your comment suggest that you are of the mindset that religious figures are somehow immune from satire. Am I correct?

  136. OK, so he was acting like a “doofus,” but the judge had no place in saying it. Harassment is harassment. Unbelievably pompous lecture on Islam by a local judge. Ridiculous.

  137. What really matters in the case is this: can it be proven that the defendant assaulted the plaintiff? All the plaintiff has is his own testimony and a video that reveals nothing (that I could see). Thus it could not be proven that the plaintiff was assaulted. Invocation of Sharia law would be to say that it was indeed found that the plaintiff was assaulted, and that the assault was a justified response to an insult against Muhammad. That’s not what happened.

    All you have here is a crazy judge who went on a long and entirely irrelevant rant about Islam, and a plaintiff who could not prove that a crime was committed against him. I do think this judge is biased and incompetent, but if Mr. Perce can’t present sufficient evidence that he was assaulted, he has no case against the defendant.

  138. I think the audio of the recording needs to be reviewed, not for accuracy, but to distinguish what the Judge actually said, re: being a muslim. I am able to hear the judge saying, that muslims find portraying Allah in a questionable way to be “very, very, very, offensive…IF I’m a muslim, I find it offensive.” It is difficult to hear, between the poor audio quality (the judge gets quiet as he starts the “if I’m”) and the accent, but I hear the “fff imma muslim”. That’s important; because he’s NOT saying he -IS- a muslim, what he’s saying is that he personally finds the costume to be offensive, so he can understand that a muslim would certainly find it offensive.
    So let’s get off the “the judge is a muslim” thing and instead look at why a sitting judge feels the need to hold an opinion on a Halloween costume at all.
    Further, from the purported statement of the judge regarding Rule 112, Pennsylvania has a problem with audio recordings. From their wiretapping statutes, to the problems they’ve had with video taping police officers resulting in ACLU intervention, the state is psychotic when it comes to audio recording. But this case, to me, does NOT highlight the importance of Rule 112 that the judge attempts to make; that audio recordings can be misleading or problematic and therefore should be outlawed. No, what this case proves to me is that we need MORE audio recording. If citizens recorded MORE, and the government was FORCED to allow such, we’d have SIGNIFICANTLY better quality, and we’d hear EXACTLY what that judge had said. There is no excuse in “poor audio” quality as a reason to curtail the citizenry’s right to infer knowledge from official proceedings. The judge’s attempt to squash the recording here is nothing more than an “official” attempt to cover-up what he clearly KNOWS is a bad ruling. If the victim had NOT recorded this session, THERE WOULD BE NO STORY AT ALL.
    The First Amendment needs to be extended: it disallowed abridging the “freedom of speech, or of the press”…the two prominent ways for the citizenry of the time to record and distribute the “record” of events. They didn’t have cameras, they didn’t have tape recorders, they didn’t have vid cams, much less iPhones. They had no technological means by which to capture and playback events other than human senses, memory, and manual reproduction (imagine having to draw a picture of something you saw if you WEREN’T artistic!) Those days are long gone. The Rights of citizens to capture and record events around us needs to be recognized; we should no longer be hamstrung by quaint technicalities (“he said, she said”). Audio and video recording at the level of human perception should be become the standard, not the exception.

  139. That the judge or justice uttered the word, “doofus,” “doofis”, or whatever the spelling of the label is immaterial, as is whether or not the judge is or is not a Muslim. I suspect he is not and, furthermore, am of the opinion that the audio was tampered with to a certain degree. Neither issue makes an iota of difference to me. That of which I don’t approve is blaming a victim for having been assaulted. In memory of Theo van Gogh, one might consider that free inquiry and satire are rights that ought to be defended by the bench.

  140. Ever hear of “Fighting Words”. I’m black. The first amendment gives any of you the right to put on white sheets and march down the street with signs that say “Niggers go back to Africa”. That’s fine. And when I see you I’m gunna whoop your ass and take the jail sentence, whatever it might be. On the other hand the courts might very well take my side:

    In its 9-0 decision, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine and held that “insulting or ‘fighting words,’ those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” are among the “well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech the prevention and punishment of [which] … have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem.”

  141. Dee Nice,
    If you contend that you can react violently after having experienced a satirical representation of you or your ilk, then you’ve entirely missed an important Supreme Court decision, i.e. Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46. Please attend to the particulars.

    I sense that your response was a bullying tactic and am also convinced that you’ve not thought about this issue to any extent. If you have seriously contemplated the decision, then might you be averring that anyone who takes an opposite position of yours fear violent reprisal?

  142. Even though I regard myself as an atheist, I would make the following observations:

    1. After watching the tape, I would concur with the judge that Ernie Perce is clearly a doofus. For an adult to behave in such a manner indicates a very low IQ.

    2. Ernie Perce was not trying to express his views on religion, but was trying to offend and knew he would offend any muslim in the crowd.

    Ernie Perce is entitled to protection under the law and as such the judge erred by dismissing the charge in the manner he did. But as atheists, this is not the type of battle we should be fighting. Yes, get behind people like Jessica Ahlquist who made a very brave stand demanding her school uphold the constitution in respect to religious symbols in secular schools and has had to suffer death threats and insults of every kind since. But don’t hitch our cause on the antics of a very stupid and deliberatly insulting person who should know better.

    Freedom of speech is not just in relation to religion. Walk into a bar near a military base and start mouthing that the army is composed of war mongering murderers. Attend the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York pretending to be an inebriated Irishman, staggering instead of walking. The constitution protects your right to do both, but nobody will care and you won’t garnish any sympathy if in both cases you get a smack in the gob.

    There are more important battles to fight than this one.

  143. This is idiocy at its best. The judge is wrong and should be removed from the bench and not even allowed to rule over traffic court. He has no right to invoke Shari law on the people of the United States. We are not an Islamic country.

    The video shows that this Muslim defendant is a liar. He is fabricating the truth to fit his needs. If you look carefully at the video, you can see at the 48 second mark, a shadow comes up from behind and you can see contact between the two. One arm goes up over the right shoulder and on the left side another arm (the defendants left arm) grabs some thing. The person filming then shouts, confirming the contact.

    I however think the atheist is a moron. There is no need to use such ridicule against others for their belief system. Sure, go get dressed up as a zombie Muhammad, but shouting out those comments and carrying a sign to “inform” others about who he was is really beyond common sense. There really is no reason for it other than to deliberately provoke others.

    Also, Muslims do believe in resurrection, except on the day of judgement. Muhammad did not rise from the dead so this plaintiff is wrong.

  144. @Stephen Ryan:
    You’re totally missing the point and making a foolish judgement (“low IQ”). It’s essential to be offensive and attention-grabbing when fighting against something like Islam that oppresses modern human rights. It’s a very wise tactic and the proper response of our society to this episode would be for hundreds of people to march in similar outfits.

    Your analogies are way off. The military case might be valid form of activism if someone really believed that the blame for murderous wars could be laid at the hands of individual soldiers, except that it wouldn’t be appropriate behavior *inside* a private establishment like a bar, maybe outside. However, the Irish case is pure nonsense. Fighting evil superstitious cults like Islam, Christianity, etc is not in any way analogous to making racist jokes about Irish people.

  145. Seems the judge has problems with the truth as well as legal reasoning. Look for this all all star to make general officer.

  146. @Stephen Ryan: Also, he *was* expressing his views on religion. He was portraying an absurd, surreal, comical, nonsensical, cartoonish belief system for what it really is. That’s precisely the kind of expression that’s needed to raise awareness of the indefensible evils of theism. While satire is an extremely vital form of expression, this case might not qualify as satire because the expression was in fact less absurd than the thing being ridiculed!

  147. This judge must be removed from the bench. He ignores our Constitution and places the Koran and his ‘experience in Muslim , um, err, Arabic countries’ as the standard. The ruling should be overturned and the proper punishment should be given. If you immigrate to this country you must follow Our Laws! Laws of other countries should Never, Ever be utilized as precedent!

  148. The Plaintiff in this case needs to contact the governing Common Pleas Judge who oversees District Justices in that area and file a complaint.

    Mark Martin, he’s not fit to be called a Judge and should be picketed at this residence and work – they have moved his office to the Main Courthouse for security purpose – the number there is 717-240-7864.

    This person is a traitor to the US Constitution and they oath he took when he was sworn into office.

  149. I won’t go so far as to say the alleged attacker should have been found guilty, that is after all what the trial is for.

    However, the judge was wrong to dress down the victim, wrong to say that he went beyond his first amendment rights by insulting anothers religion and wrong to bring up (as supporting arguements) that in other countries it’s illegal.

  150. “I also do not see how the judge believes that he has the authority to tell a religious critic that “before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it.” Let alone call a person a “doofus” because he opposes religion.”

    As you can see by the quotes, he didn’t call someone a doofus because he opposes religion. He told someone that attacking a religion on the basis of false beliefs about its content made him look like a doofus.

  151. That’s a lot of tracebacks.

    Some from atheist sites, many from Christian sites.

    Christian sites condemning a judge’s smack-down of an atheist. Oh the irony! Of course they frame it as a Sharia problem. These Christian sites support separation of church and state when the church is a mosque.

  152. I deployed with Judge Martin. I think we’re all putting too much faith in him. He is the reason innocent people go to jail, and criminals go free. The man couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag with a GPS device. Publicly elected judges = epic failure.

  153. Blouise
    1, February 24, 2012 at 10:50 am
    “Seems to me the atheist, dressed as a creepy Prophet, set a trap and first, Elbayomy, then District Judge Mark Martin walked right into it. There were definitely a couple of doofuses in that court room.”

    The circularity of this argument is matched only by it’s logical absurdity.

    Blouise, if it is a “trap” to poke fun at a Muslim/Christian/Jew – anyone who professes there IS a “G”od without any tolerance for equivocation or dissent – then what exactly do you consider the violation to my conscience to call me a “heathen”, an “infidel”, and a “traitor” if I honestly express my sincere assessment that there is no god that I can find?

    This is the whole thing, boiled down to one crusty nugget in a red-hot pan:

    If it’s provocative to ridicule a person’s religion, but it’s NOT provocative to slap someone in the face with your religion and claim that doing so is not only NOT a provocation but it is a “trap” to be honest about what we feel/see/think of what you present to us –

    well, then somebody help us. (Notice who I didn’t ask to help us, because I can’t lie to you and tell you I think there is any “G”od up there who ever would)

    Here’s my challenge to the religions of the world: Although I deny your religious symbols and gods, I still acknowledge you. When you, as a religious person, insist that it is offensive to you when I deny your religion, but refuse to realize it is an affront just the same to claim some fault in my character for not acknowledging your faith –

    – well, despite all the dogma, apparently few faiths anywhere in the world seem to have any problem with rank hypocrisy.

  154. Joe Galatha,

    Honeychile … you’re preaching to the choir.

    If I wanted to expose the hypocrisy of religion, that is exactly the kind of trap I’d set to do it. However, I may be giving our atheist more credit than he deserves.

  155. As a Chrisitan Theist who eats atheist alive for breakfast, this blows me away as much as you do.

    Like I said before, we really should blow up and bomb the kaaba in Mecca and end this disgusting religion once and for all instantly. We did this in World War II and we ought to do it in World War II as well. Or just drop a huge pig skin blanket over the kaaba then.

    All muslims will rot in hell or should be buried with pig skined condoms so when they get to musli heaven (which is torture for eternity) with all those virgins, their penis will be missing for forever.

    Respectfully,

    Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

  156. Shorter Jean Chauvin: “Bomb, bomb, bomb”

    How very Christian of you, Jean. I am sure that’s what Jesus would do.

  157. This is outrageous. The author does a good job of keeping his cool in the face of blatant falacies and logical persuasion so twisted that it makes me half question if this guy was really a judge or if this was a real ruling or maybe the whole thing is made up to get people’s blood pressure up. Whatever the case, I hope this sparks a backlash the likes of which “Mechanicsburg,” PA has never seen. This is the complete opposite of the NYPD spying on Rutgers students story that came out recently. I thought it was hilarious that the agents doing the spying had the landlord of their safehouse report them as a terrorist cell though. Going to continue to read on…but really, how does the judge view the first amendment this way and still get to be a judge?

  158. It apparently is a real story, and 90% of the posters here are completely ignoring the actual facts out there.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pa-judges-dismissal-of-harassment-case-criticized-after-zombie-muhammad-posts-trial-audio/2012/02/28/gIQA5kUggR_story.html

    Fact one: if you read the lead to the video, the posted edited it. Whether some folks hear “I am a Muslim” due to an edit, or due to poor audio quality (like missing the word “if”, or the word “not”, either of which would completely change the meaning. I kind of doubt a Lutheran who is known in his community would say “I am a Muslim”- and if he was not a Lutheran, it would be quickly called out. So accept the fact the judge is not a Muslim
    Fact two: Judges lecture all the time. The judge understood that unless the atheist understood why the Muslim had objected, and the potentially deadly consequences, he would potentially endanger himself. Westboro makes money off civil suits after enraging folks into an attack. They make sure there is irrefutable physical evidence before they try for criminal assault charges. This case had no physical evidence. I can charge you with assault for blocking me if I’m trying to grab something from your hand. The judge is going to throw out the charge without a bruise, then probably lecture me about what I did to provoke the “assault”. [not I, but two friends had this occur. The “victim” here was very pissed at being lectured and having a restraining order on her-which to be fair, the judge put on all three].

    Absent of physical bruising, or a busted sign, or stories agreeing, the judge threw out the charge. The Muslim discovered that the Prophet was NOT a protected icon in the US, and the atheist discovered the price of free speech-sometimes people get offended. Also- if you expect to press charges and want to win, let the perp do some minor damage so you can prove your case.

    Last fact: The judge did not rule in favor of Sharia, or using Sharia, but by all the usual rules of US law. He can file a civil suit for having been assaulted and the mental anguish of having his beliefs disrespected by having to listen to a lesson about another religion. He might even win it and garner some monetary reward. But he is a doofus. (which the judge only insinuated) to choose that costume after all the flack over a cartoon.

  159. Religion is clouding the issue. What oath of testimony did the Atheist and Muslim take? Why was the testimony of the police officer that took a statement admitting guilt not considered? Why was the video not considered? Why was the present witness ( zombie pope ) not considered? Did the judge really think that the Atheist did not understand the Muslim’s reaction and needed a lecture? Now we have another issue. Was the audio edited? Frankly, I find that the most offensive if it was.

  160. The judge is NOT a muslim convert. He is NOT a muslim at all. He is a Lutheran. Listen carefully, he actually says he is NOT a muslim. He served his country in the military in a muslim country putting himself in harms way for the USA, what is wrong with using that experience? There seems to be a lot of doofuses atheist or otherwise queuing up to slaughter this guy on the basis of pure falsehoods. I find it beyond strange…

  161. There seems to be a lot of doofuses atheist or otherwise queuing up to slaughter this guy on the basis of pure falsehoods. I find it beyond strange…

    ******************

    There seems to be at least one doofus Lutheran queing up to slaughter this [atheist] on the basis of pure falsehoods [and some novel ideas about the First Amendment]. I find it beyond strange…

  162. WHAT the hell IS THIS??

    YOU people of PA better get off the GOD DAMNED couch and get this ASSHOLE out of the courtroom immediately?

    NO ONE GIVES A FLYING FUCK ABOUT MUHAMMAD HERE ASSHOLE.
    THIS IS AMERICA, YOU FUCK.

  163. This judge is so far out of it, I am stunned. I guess I have missed all the times that atheists have been attacking, firebombing, and killing church goers as the Klan did to blacks. I would agree that the KKK should not be allowed to march because they have a long history of illegal acts such as murder, and terrorism. Those kinds of people have lost their first amendment rights by their criminal actions. The atheist was simply mocking the stupid beliefs of religious people, especially Muslims.

  164. You tell me how the hell someone can make a judgment aganist someone with NO proof from the other person, I guess it’s ok for everyone to go into Martin’s court and lie about things and not have proof that the stuff ever existed. Go ahead Mechanicsburg, sue you neighbors, sue your siblings, sue everyone you know, in this jerk-offs court you don’t have to prove anything!!!!he needs Off the bench NOW!!!

  165. This Ernie guy got what he deserved. This jerk goes around pushing the bounds of his 1st amendment right and when someone acts on it he cries like a lil b***h. The Muslim guy was also in the wrong for putting his hands on him I think they should have both been put in jail . Maybe Ernie will use a lil more common sense in the future.

  166. the judge wasn’t putting Islam above Christianity, he was putting the law in front of stupidity. Preponderance wasn’t proven, therefore he had to dismiss the case. If the glove don’t fit u must acquit.

  167. I see. The word of one Muslim is worth more than the testimony of the cop who said the Muslim admitted to assaulting the guy, is worth more than the victims testimony, the video tape, and the prohibited testimony of the other demonstrator. So I count four different pieces of evidence that are worthless against the testimony of ONE Muslim. That is NOT being biased for Muslims? I have a bridge for sale that you will LOVE!

  168. As a Christian, I am appalled that this man (regardless of religion) was allowed to get away with attacking a demonstrator (regardless of his stance). That is just wrong. I see Christianity being bludgeoned on an almost daily basis, but that is okay because I am responsible only for myself, not what others do. This judge is making a mockery of our constitution and he should be dis-barred or whatever needs to be done to get him off the bench. I also feel the atheist guy should have had the right to protect himself if he felt his person was being threatened, which grabbing a sign it was not, but what if a muslim or anyone else from any other belief system decided to take justice in their own hands and kill him in their rage? Would that have been justified as well? The judge just gave them the okay for Muslims to kill if need be without impunity, after all this is the essence of Islam to be enraged by this behavior.

    Furthermore, why should this atheist be told he should look into these belief systems before mocking them? That is just ridiculous. No one should have to do that, and does he really think that would stop them from mocking? Stupid judge.

    On one other note though, I do not know why atheists are so adamant about taking such time and effort to spew their own hatred in the first place. Respect is given where respect is due. I personally do not respect anyone, religious or not, who acts out with such hatred, especially when their motive is to simply mock, offend and judge others just to be hurtful and hateful. It is their right though, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  169. and another thing…. even KKK members are protected in their speech from people attacking them, namely people of color. KKK insults the exact essence of someones being even more so than the essence of a chosen philosophy, so does that give them all a right to attack the KKK protestors? Right or wrong, it gives NO ONE the right to lash out at demonstrators or anyone for what they say. We have all got to stop our whining really. So quick to be offended. It is really starting to make me sick.

  170. Yes, he was being an asshole. But that doesn’t mean the muslim had a right to attack him. Did you see any Catholics there attacking the guy who was dressed up as zombie-pope? No, of course not. So what makes it okay for this religion, but not for others?

  171. Alan Golkin, you have a lot of nerve critcizing anyone, having been disbarred yourself. You should be in prison. Keep your lefty views to yourself. From the Cornell University archives:

    D-1719 IN THE MATTER OF DISBARMENT OF ALAN R. GOLKIN
    Alan R. Golkin, of Niagara Falls, New York, having been suspended from the practice of law in this Court by order of September 5, 1996; and a rule having been issued and served upon him requiring him to show cause why he should not be disbarred; and the time to file a response having expired; It is ordered that Alan R. Golkin is disbarred from the practice of law in this Court.

  172. Way to stay classy ma’am. What difference does it make if someone is disbarred? Does that suddenly eliminate their ability to reason or remove all freedom to analyze a situation? This judge was clearly acting outside the bounds of the law. This is almost universally accepted as true. To criticize a message because of the messenger is a logical fallacy known as “ignoratio elenchi”

  173. Judge Martin should have remained in his chosen Muslim country where he would obviously be more qualified to mete out justice. Barring his departure to the Middle East his swift departure from the bench is in order.

  174. @ Concerned Citizen: You said, “Simple solution, remove the cretin from the bench and he can go to a country that will allow him to practice his special brand of ignorance.”

    It pains me to say this, CC, but he IS in a country that will allow him to practice his special brand of ignorance.

  175. Mespo, Sir, I had to take a break and get some sedatives and take them with vodka. I thought I read you as saying:

    “That’s exactly what I think. Angels, vampires, ghost whispering shows, fairy tales on network TV, religiosity to insane levels, annihilation spoken of as with a video game, and every other manner of immaterialism (as Jefferson would say) shows me we don’t like the world we’ve got so we’ll retreat into another. About the only place where reality and reason rule most of the time is at the courthouse so that’s where I prefer to be –call it a retreat into reason.”

    But Sir, isn’t the courthouse where this great pronouncement on the First Amendment took place? That’s where I think it happened, even though it was attributable to angels, vampires, ghost whisperers, fairy tales, religiosity to insane levels, and the inevitable etceteras.

    Judges can have some pretty weird ideas about how religion and law should meet, and I believe that there is a greater likelihood for a judge’s brain to go out of commission or just “off the rails” in a case where their emotions and perhaps their “archaic material” bloom than in other cases where they just have to apply the law and divvy up the money, or make evidentiary rulings before a jury makes decisions. In a Fairfax, Virginia courtroom in 1998, Judge F. Bruce Bach denied a woman named Rosemary Kooiman the right to perform marriage ceremonies for members of the Wicca religion even though she was a religious leader of the Wicca faith. [Mind you, the marriage licenses obtained by the spouses-to-be would still have to be issued by the Commonwealth, so it was only the actual Wiccan religious ceremony that was at issue.] Wiccans apparently HAVE no other religious authorities to perform marriage ceremonies. But Judge Bach first seemed to ridicule her religion (“Do you worship trees?”) (to which she answered, “We [revere][honor] trees” [I can’t remember which word she used]) and he concluded that Wicca was not a religion. So she got the ACLU involved. They made a motion for Judge Bach to reconsider; he couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge the “Wicca religion” so he did not change his mind. Kooiman then went to a different county in Virginia and got an order out of that court allowing her to obtain a license to perform the weddings, and peace reigned in the Wicca World of Virginia, at least.

    I have seen some things in courthouses that make angels, vampires, ghost whispering, fairy tales, insane religiosity, and every other manner of immaterialism look GOOD. And some of it by judges who, in plenty of other civil or criminal cases that don’t “push their crazy buttons,” can do a perfectly competent job.

    About the idea that it was OK to assault somebody who, arguendo, HAD gone “outside the first amendment,” we’re in real trouble here when the judges start to bless THAT conduct. Then you can have a guy who dresses up as a woman getting attacked for “insulting womanhood” or “insulting manhood.” You can have someone beat his wife to a pulp because she insulted HIM. Once when I was walking through a park in Washington, DC, I was handed a pamphlet that claimed that women were causing rape by wearing ornaments in their hair — it was handed out by the Mennonites, who were probably insulted by my own coiffure that day — lucky they didn’t get offended enough to throw me down and cut off MY HAIR! This Judge in Pennsylvania has just done something that is not only dangerous to our Constitution, it’s dangerous to each and every one of US, because it says that the state will not protect people who, in one judge’s opinion, should not have expressed themselves in a way that someone else disliked.

    I mean, get ready folks.
    I mean, get ready.

  176. People such as the criminal assaulter and the criminal judge shouldn’t live in America with Western culture and values as they are obviously intolerant of American culture. They should move to an Islamic country where Western culture and values are excluded.

  177. This is all wrong! These people did not fit in this town’s parade. They made fun off all Gods of all faiths and I watched with my son and thought, “seriously? You have to test the limits here?” I had to explain what an Atheist was on parade night. Then, this fool, just so happens to have his video camera running while faking distress??? Judge Martin is a very kind and fair Judge and if you have all of the facts and not the ones just from this atheist, it becomes clearer! These guys were out to entrap someone that night and turns out this same angry atheist was not without his recorder in the courthouse as well. The arresting officer arrests ANYONE regardless of facts and that is what this Judge sees all day. Mechanicsburg is a town of too many churches (3 on one block!) of all faiths and cultures, some very ignorant people though most are just small town kind people, and a somewhat rotten bunch of small town cops that have very few arrests. “Muslim” is all that the media grabbed onto but I was offended by these marchers as well. They were probably expecting to get denied to even be IN THE PARADE and were probably hoping for that lawsuit. Just a guess, next year he will be back and that stinks. Freedom of religion or freedom to have no religion, respect for all would be the right thing to do and we were just taking our kids to see a parade of scouts and bands and firetrucks.

  178. especially when Muslim law has NOTHING TO DO WITH AMERICAN LAW, time for the scourge, pour out the bowls of destruction, lower the veils of deception and let’s do this crusader style .FUCK MOHAMMED

  179. The judge needs to go to jail. He is a criminal for letting a criminal go without charges. Of course he shouldn’t be a judge. That is obvious.

  180. Everything typed made a lot of sense. But, what about this?

    what if you were to create a killer title? I am not saying your content is not solid, however
    what if you added a title that grabbed people’s attention? I mean Pennsylvania Judge Throws Out Charge For Harassing Atheist While Calling The Victim A Doofus | JONATHAN TURLEY is a little vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article titles to get viewers to click.
    You might add a related video or a related picture
    or two to get people interested about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it would bring your blog a little livelier.

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