Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Johnny Logan Spencer Pleads Guilty In Louisville, Kentucky To Making A Presidential Threat In A Poem
Johnny Logan Spencer, age 27, of Louisville, Kentucky, has dropped his intended First Amendment defense and pleaded guilty to charges of making a Presidential threat according to United States Attorney David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky on July 7th, 2010. The plea was entered before Judge David Whalin in U.S. District Court, Louisville, Kentucky. You can read the original six-page criminal complaint HERE.
Spencer, who was represented by a public defender, admitted that he threatened to kill the president of the United States. This threat was posted in the form of a poem Logan authored called "The Sniper". Spencer posted the poem on NewSaxon.org, a social network website operated by the National Socialist Movement (NSM). Spencer was not a member of the NSM, and NSM membership is not required to sign up on NewSaxon.
A trial had been slated for August 3rd after a probable cause hearing on February 25th in which Judge Whalin ruled the case could proceed. Although Spencer had apologized to the Secret Service for writing the poem and said he never intended to assassinate the president, Judge Whalin said that didn’t matter because the question is whether reasonable people to whom the message is addressed would construe it as an intention to harm the president.
The maximum potential penalties are 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of up to 3 years. WLKY Channel 32 notes that Spencer entered an open plea admitting guilt without a deal with prosecutors. Nevertheless, because he saved the state the cost of a trial, he is unlikely to receive the full penalty; because he was incarcerated while awaiting trial, it's possible he may be sentenced only to time served. Spencer is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge McKinley on November 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 a.m., in Louisville, Kentucky.
Analysis: This case never should have been pressed in the first place. Spencer posted the poem on NewSaxon back in August 2007, and the Secret Service first became aware of it in November 2008. Yet the Secret Service waited 1 1/2 years before taking action, and did so only after an informant faxed a copy of the writings to the FBI. Furthermore, the poem did not mention either Barack or Michelle Obama by name; you can read the poem for yourself HERE.
Why Spencer decided to roll over completely without even attempting to negotiate a plea deal is beyond me. Perhaps his lack of resources precluded a more vigorous legal fight. Perhaps the Feds knew this when they launched the case; they guessed they could score a cheap victory. However, Spencer’s lawyer, Laura Wyrosdick, said that Spencer was incarcerated while awaiting trial and eager to resolve his case (Translation: He's probably tired of dealing with the "African-American" inmates).