Ohio Prosecutor Indicts Punxsutawney Phil

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Finally, someone is bringing this fraud to justice:

CINCINNATI — Punxsutawney Phil is innocent.

That’s what one of his handlers, John Griffiths, declares in response to an “indictment” that the Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor issued Thursday against Pennsylvania’s famous weather-predicting groundhog.

Apparently frosted over Ohio’s cold start to the spring season, prosecutor Mike Gmoser accuses Phil of “misrepresentation of spring.”

On Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, Phil did not see his shadow. By legend, that portends an early spring.

But in an official-looking document, Gmoser alleges that Phil acted “with prior calculation and design” to cause people to believe that spring would arrive early.

“Contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future,” Gmoser wrote.

This injustice has gone unpunished for far too long.

Photo via New York Magazine 

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Peabody says:

    Where’s the DA’s birth certificate? Does he have standing in Ohio? Did his law school have a biologically-diverse student body?

    So many questions…

  2. Nikki says:

    Well, one cold day a posse captured Philly
    And the judge said, “String ‘im up for what he did!”
    And the cowboys and their kin
    Like the sea came pourin’ in
    To watch the hangin’ of Punxsutawney the Pig.

    This went through my head as I pondered the spectacle of a people so “pissed off” at a groundhog that the death penalty would be considered a fit punishment simply because we’re tired of being cold.

    Ok, “pig” and “did” don’t rhyme, but whatcha gonna do?

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:
  4. Franklin says:

    I’d be slightly more impressed if he hadn’t written “a [sic] Unclassified”.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’d be a hell of a lot more impressed if he were to prosecute a few weather forecasters who can’t even get tomorrow’s weather right.

  6. JKB says:

    Just what you want a prosecutor who cannot determine who is the proper party to charge in a crime. Phil made no assertions related to Spring. In fact, he made no assertions to anyone on anything. Since he made not assertions, there was nothing for others to rely on.

    So as I said, what does it say about a prosecutor who is cannot correctly apply law?

    Now others, made assertions that they claimed were informed by Phil’s actions but then they are the ones who would be culpable for those assertions.

    But then a “reasonable” person would not rely on assertions about an early Spring based on the actions of a single groundhog located in a distant location. Especially, given their is a consensus of experts who support claims of rapidly approaching catastrophic climate change due to greenhouse gases. Not that I believe in the latter but a consensus traipsing across the witness stand might be enough to convince a jury that it is foolish to rely on the random ruminations of rodents.

    Now, this would be a lot more amusing if the Italian morons hadn’t prosecuted seismologists for failure to predict an earthquake.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Sense of humor much?

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:


    random ruminations of rodents.

    Outstanding name for a band.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: I think the phrase is: “Lighten up, Francis!”