The facts of the case are clear: Ernest Perce, a young atheist in Pennsylvania, marched in a Halloween parade dressed as "Zombie Muhammad." A Muslim, Talaag Elbayomy, grew enraged when he saw Perce's costume, and began choking him while trying to pull off the fake beard that Perce had glued onto his face. Perce went to the police, and so did Elbayomy – the latter under the mistaken impression that it was illegal in the United States, as it is in many Muslim lands, to insult or mock the prophet of Islam. Elbayomy was mistaken, of course: it isn't illegal to mock Muhammad in the United States, but it may be soon, courtesy Judge Mark Martin, who dismissed the case against Elbayomy.

Martin claimed in a message trying to explain away his mishandling of the case that he dismissed the case for lack of evidence: "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 were so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty."

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