Mark Martin, the judge in the now-infamous zombie Muhammad case in Pennsylvania, has responded to the criticism of him on Jonathan Turley’s blog. Unfortunately, he offers little more than finger pointing, non sequiturs and red herrings. He says:
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).
But this is not a gross misrepresentation; he actually said he was a Muslim on the tape. It isn’t really relevant, of course, because what he did and said was wrong regardless of his religion. But it is a misrepresentation to claim that this is a misrepresentation. Maybe he didn’t mean what he said. Maybe he was just speaking hypothetically. But he did say it.
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).
Also irrelevant. If you threatened him with contempt, you were threatening him with jail; that is what happens to people who are held in contempt. I suppose you could have imposed some other punishment instead, but so what? The fact that you threatened him if he released the tape is what matters.
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).
This was also irrelevant from the start. What he did and said would be wrong even if he had no books on his bench at all.
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.”;
And again, not relevant. It doesn’t matter why he dressed up as Muhammad. Even if he had told you that he did it specifically to enrage Muslims, it’s still entirely legal to do so and still entirely illegal to attack him for it.
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.
Very interesting use of the phrase “in short,” as though that conclusion had anything at all to do with what preceded it. But it doesn’t. None of the statements have any relevance at all to what he is saying here. And it may well be that there were valid reasons to dismiss the charges based on the testimony, but that simply isn’t the issue here. During the actual trial, Martin made clear that he was rejecting any notion that what the man did was protected by the First Amendment and scolded him for exercising his rights rather than on the person who admitted to having run up and grabbed him. That is the issue, which Martin doesn’t even attempt to address.
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.
Cry me a river. Yes, the people claiming that this is about imposing Sharia law are morons and ideologues. But that doesn’t absolve you of wrongdoing. Your lecture about the limits of the First Amendment were not just utterly false, they were also irrelevant to the proceedings. And the fact that you saw fit to deliver that lecture makes you unfit for the bench.