Punxsutawney Phil Faces Execution Threat
Prosecutor furious over groundhog's 'misrepresentation of spring'
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 22, 2013 7:13 AM CDT
Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(Newser) – Punxsutawney Phil could be in serious trouble. He didn't see his shadow this year, meaning spring should come early. But the season has shown no signs of arriving as of yet in Ohio's Butler County, and a prosecutor there has "indicted" Phil, charging him with "misrepresentation of spring," the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Mike Gmoser says Phil behaved "with prior calculation and design," writing, "contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future." (The city could see as much as three inches of snow on Sunday.)

Phil handler John Griffiths says that's not a fair assessment, given there have actually been spring-like temperature jumps since Feb. 2, USA Today notes. But Gmoser is calling for the death penalty, worrying Griffiths, who asks, "This is tongue-in-cheek, right?"

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Mar 26, 2013 4:34 PM CDT
In this original news flash, Newser, you state that the groundhog's handler is John Griffiths. Yet in your follow-up story, Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle claims to be the groundhog's handler. Your reporting cred is a bit thin on the ground. But either way, I am glad that Bill has stepped forward to accept accountability, and that the prosecutor prosecutor Mike Gmoser has withdrawn the charge.
Mar 26, 2013 3:46 PM CDT
It isn't the groundhog who claims to be able to predict the weather, it is the handler John Griffiths who claims that he has a groundhog that can do it. The prosecutor's case needs to be thrown out of court, the wrong suspect has been named.
Mar 23, 2013 10:04 PM CDT
Butcher the little rat, & serve him up with some BBQ sauce! Anyone that believes a rodent can predict weather, shouldn't be allowed to vote!