Prosecutor wants to put Phil in jail for ‘early spring’ forecast


A faulty weather forecast has landed Punxsutawney Phil, the star of Groundhog Day, in hot water with authorities in Ohio. (Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)
March 28, 2013

Just how cold and nasty has the beginning of this spring been?

A lawyer in Ohio, which got snow and freezing temperatures during last week of March, wants to send the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to jail!

On February 2, also known as Groundhog Day, Phil didn’t see his shadow, which — if you believe the folk tale about Phil — meant we should expect an early spring.

Mike Gmoser is an Ohio county prosecutor, which means it’s his job to try to make sure that guilty people — or groundhogs — go to prison. Gmoser is accusing Phil of “purposely and with prior calculation and design, causing the people to believe spring would come early.” Gmoser is seeking to have Phil moved from Pennsylvania, where he lives, to Ohio to stand trial.

But Phil has his defenders, including Groundhog Day organizer Bill Deeley, who says that Phil has a lawyer and is confident that “we can beat the rap.”

Of course, Gmoser and Deeley aren’t serious about putting Phil in jail, but their disagreement shows how upset people are that parts of the country, including the Washington area, had snow in the last week of March.

Don Hughes, a meteorologist in Ohio, has been hearing a lot of complaints. “Most people I’ve talked to say they’ve had enough. They want spring. They’re looking for colors and sunshine.”

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