Pennsylvania Magisterial District Judge Mark Martin provoked outrage when he
summarily dismissed charges against a Muslim immigrant who allegedly attacked an atheist activist parading in a Zombie Mohamed costume. For some reason, Zombie Mohamed’s pal, Pope Zombie, was not attacked.
But the most disturbing attack in the case was inflicted on the First Amendment by “Judge” Mark W. Martin, who launched into a six-minute tirade against the alleged victim for having the temerity to exercise his right to free speech and expression. Now it turns out, the “judge” isn’t even a lawyer and didn’t graduate law school. Apparently a four-week course suffices in Pennsylvania to become a magisterial district judge.
I called Judge Mark W. Martin at the telephone number provided here planning a serious First Amendment exercise workout myself, only to learn in a recorded message Monday morning that the court room had to be relocated to a more secure location on account of alleged threats the so-called judge had received. (By the way, calling up judges with serious free speech urges on your mind and blogging about it is best done outside the boundaries of the United States – or at least the State in which the judge sits on the bench.)
The tirade is worth reading in its entirety, and I’ve included it below and interspersed highly relevant photos from Homeland and commentary – bracketed in bold. (I’ve used the definitive transcript of the “Judge’s” remarks, prepared by the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, based on audio recorded in court by the alleged victim, Ernest Perce, and posted on YouTube).
Well, having had the benefit of having spent over two-and-a-half years in a predominantly Muslim country, I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact, I have a copy of the Koran here, and I would challenge you, sir, to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammed arose and walked among the dead.
[Unintelligible.] You misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus. [Enough with the legalese]
And Mr. Thomas [Elbayomi's defense lawyer] is correct. In many other Muslim speaking countries – excuse me, in many Arabic speaking countries – call it “Muslim” – something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, it could be punishable by death, and it frequently is, in their society. [Objection, relevance. We're not in "their" #$&%*ing 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 really intended. [Any cases to cite in support of what you "think"? Didn't think so]. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.
I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being. [Correct Judge, that's the problem] They pray five times a day towards Mecca. To be a good Muslim, before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt.
Their greetings, “Salaam alaikum,” “Alaikum wa-salaam,” “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 is — they are so immersed in it.
Then what you have 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. F’Im a Muslim, I’d find it offensive. [Unintelligble] aside was very offensive.
But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights. [And you're way out of your league on First Amendment scholarship, Judge Doofus. Try reading The Volokh Conspiracy blog.]
This is what — as I said, I spent half my years altogether living in other countries [Just like that blonde Muslim convert in Homeland who rented the pad by the airport with her Saudi boyfriend]. When we go to other countries, it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as “ugly Americans.” This is why we are 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. [No judge. It's because many of us are grossly obese, wear shorts and sneakers to the Louvre, and talk boisterously in fine dining restaurants. On the positive side, we're considered the word's best tippers.]
All that aside I’ve got here basically — I don’t want to say, “He said, she said.” But I’ve got two sides of the story that are in conflict with each other. [Had you gone to law school you would have learned that judges often hear cases with conflicting stories.] I understand — I’ve been at a Halloween parade, I understand how noisy it can be, how difficult it can be to get a [unintelligible]. I can’t believe that, if there was this kind of conflict going on in the middle of the street, that somebody didn’t step forward sooner to try and intervene — that the police officer on a bicycle didn’t stop and say, “Hey, let’s break this up.”
[Unintelligible]. You got a witness.
[Unintelligible response. Judge Martin then continues:]
The preponderance of, excuse me, the burden of proof is that the defendant — it must be proven that the defendant did with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person — The Commonwealth, whether there was conflict or not — and, yes, he should be took [sic] putting his hands on you. I don’t know — I have your story he did and his story that he did not.
But another part of the element [of the offense charged] is, as Mr. Thomas [the defense lawyer] said, was — “Was the defendant’s intent to harass, annoy or alarm — or was it his intent to try to have the offensive situation negated?” [Huh, "have the offensive situation negated"? Sounds like the Vet's military euphemisms are showing]
If his intent was to harass, annoy or alarm, I think there would have been a little bit more of an altercation. [No, "more of an altercation" would likely have been an assault; harassment is a less serious charge. This is why judges should go to law school.]Something more substantial as far as testimony going on that there was a conflict. Because there is not, it is not proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of harassment. Therefore I am going to dismiss the charge.
Judicial incompetence and bias won’t be eliminated by the host of anti-“Sharia law” proposals bandied about by incompetent law makers with their own agendas. We don’t have Sharia Law. We do have lots of incompetent and routinely biased judges running loose of all stripes who wreak legal havoc with less fanfare than Mark W. Martin. We just need judges who will apply our Anglo-American jursprudence as originalists. Requiring they graduate from law school might be a start.