Judge in MLK Spokane Bomber Case Blames ‘talk media’
It was no surprise that Kevin Harpham, the man found guilty of planting backpack bomb along the Martin Luther King Parade route in January in Spokane was given an extreme sentence. The most disturbing element of Harpham’s sentencing today were the comments of the judge who sentenced him.
Judge Justin Quackenbush, the US District Court judge who imposed a 32 year sentence, noted Harpham had no previous record, was a veteran. Quackenbush then attempted to blame talk media for he deemed was a “shrill, caustic and viriolic” culture in part for Harpham’s actions. While Harpham had plenty of evidence condemning him (including numerous internet posts on controversial websites as well as evidence at his father’s home and video footage) the judge had no business interjecting his assesment of society. Harpham had tried to withdraw his plea at the 11th hour, saying an FBI agent was willing to testify that object in the backpack was not a bomb, but that was rejected, and Harpham was given the sentence. The judge had no position attempting to link the behavior of a deviant, obviously disturbed person, to talk media.