Speaking of grand juries and people who refuse to testify before them, a few days ago, 24 year-old Gerald "Jerry" Koch was released from prison after serving eight months for refusing to testify before a grand jury about the 2008 explosion in Times Square that damaged a military recruiting office.

In his order to release Koch, Judge John F. Keenan makes his exasperation clear but says that imprisoning grand jury refusers is, legally speaking, supposed to be coercive, not punitive—sitting in a cell should convince you to talk, not punish you for not talking—and eight months was enough to convince the judge that Koch would be in "continued and endless contempt."

Our regular Slog anarchist-loathers should read and savor the judge's withering order, which lingers on Koch's "delusions of grandeur." (Koch does sound like more of a grandstanding handful than our homegrown grand-jury refusers were.)

There is simply no evidence that the government, threatened by Koch's subversive prowess, seeks to bring him before a grand jury on a pretext, either to gain access to the treasure trove that is his circle of friends or to send an ominous message to political dissidents... The court sees no indication that Koch's doctrinaire fever will break in the foreseeable future.

There's another choice bit below the jump.


Judge Keenan sounds sorry that he has to let Koch go—but criminal contempt charges (which are punitive) might be in the young man's future.