A New Jersey man accused by the government of threatening to kill a judge will remain in detention
The Paramus man, who authorities alleged threatened to murder a federal judge in New Jersey, is being detained pending his exit after appearing for a hearing on Monday.
William Kaetz, 56, was sentenced to prison after a judge ruled that there were no bail conditions that would protect the public if Kaetz were released. Authorities have alleged Kaetz made multiple threats with a New Jersey judge who was leading three civil cases he filed in recent years.
“(Kaetz) is becoming increasingly derogatory towards (the judge),” said US assistant attorney Soo C. Song.
Kaetz came on the radar of the authorities for the first time, according to the criminal complaint, after he had initially contacted the judge by post in September to demand the acceleration of a case supervised by the judge and the removal of the judge from the matter.
Investigators questioned Kaetz on the same day he sent the mail and Kaetz informed them that the delay in the case was “unacceptable to him”.
Paul Safier, a US Marshal Service inspector who testified at the hearing on Monday, said Kaetz was initially unwilling to speak to investigators but was then “a little pleased that he caught the judge’s attention” .
The following week, authorities learned of a voicemail Kaetz left for the judge in September saying he wanted to exclude her from the case and “would not take no for an answer,” the complaint said.
Authorities said in October that Kaetz had contacted the judge directly again. In an email to the judge’s personal email account, he called the judge a “traitor” because she had “stonewalling” the case. He allegedly said that he was a traitor, “has a death sentence” and “there will come a time to kill the people who are not doing their job,” the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Kaetz said in the email that he would do his best “so as not to harm the traitor,” but added: “God knows who has a complaint and what will happen afterwards.”
He said that if authorities came after him to write the email, it would “prove the time to take up arms and civil war is inevitable,” the email said.
Safier, the US Marshal Service inspector, said Kaetz’s messages were “of great importance” to him. He said authorities also found out that Kaetz posted the judge’s home address, which he purchased through a paid internet-based service, on multiple social media accounts.
When Kaetz was arrested on October 18, Safier said authorities would have to use a taser to arrest Kaetz. He has been in Essex County Correctional Facility since his arrest.
At Monday’s hearing, authorities raised a number of concerns about Kaetz’s release on bail, including that he had previously threatened another federal official.
In 2002, Kaetz sent a letter to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax officer at the agency’s service center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, threatening to kill the officer “if she hasn’t released the tax lien within 48 hours was placed on his property, “it says in court records.
He eventually pleaded guilty to the federal crime of sending a threatening notice to a tax officer with the IRS.
Kaetz was sentenced to three years probation, but in the years since then he has repeatedly challenged his conviction, although according to court records it was unsuccessful. (His appeal is currently pending in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.)
In deciding to arrest Kaetz, US judge Cynthia R. Eddy said it was “most worrying” that Kaetz was accused a second time of threatening to murder a federal official.
She also raised concerns after prosecutors detailed Monday how Kaetz attempted to obtain ID for the gun buyer in New Jersey in 2019 despite being a convicted felon and therefore unable to buy or own a gun. The local police department rejected Kaetz’s application, the authorities said.
Kaetz’s attorney, Douglas Sughrue, argued that Kaetz’s correspondence with the judge contained “strong language” but no specific threats. Sughrue argued that Kaetz should be released under conditions that the judge deemed necessary.
However, the Chief Justice’s Judge Eddy said she agreed with the Pre-Investigation Services recommendation that there are “no conditions that would protect the public” if Kaetz were released.
“No conditions would adequately ensure the security of the community,” said the judge.
The hearing on Monday was held outside of the New Jersey district due to the nature of the alleged crimes. The case was temporarily assigned to the Western District of Pennsylvania.
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Joe Atmonavage can be reached at [email protected].