The Butler County Prosecutor today dropped "charges" against a Pennsylvania groundhog, originally accused of falsely predicting the return of spring. Prosecutor Mike Gmoser sent the media a "dismissal of charge" notification early on Tuesday, after last week saying he was ready to go to court over the cold start to spring-and laying the blame at the feet of the rodent best known for predicting when the season will start.
Gmoser handed out an "indictment" last Thursday against Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog who is pulled from his burrow every year to predict the start of spring.
Gmoser said that on Groundhog day, Phil "did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early. Contrary to the Groundhog day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future, which constitutes the offense of MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING, a Unclassified Felony, and against the peace and dignity of the State Of Ohio."
The "indictment" further stated that for the "crime" of: misrepresentation to the people, that the death penalty be implemented to the defendant, Punxsutawney Phil."
But today, Gmoser said Phil's handler "had stepped up to take full responsibility for misinterpreting" Phil's prediction.
Gmoser goes on the say, "No one should consider this case all that unusual. After all, the majority in the U.S. Senate is represented by a donkey, the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is represented by an elephant and there is a lame duck in the White House planning to turn loose an Easter Bunny on the White House lawn."
Gmoser goes on to call Phil a "scapegoat" and to say, "for all who took this case too seriously and were told this case was tongue-in-cheek, those are not body parts of a groundhog for stew. In these serious times, I hope this case brought a light-hearted moment to all concerned with a warm welcome to Spring ahead."