Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gag orders and free speech

UCLA law prof. Eugene Volokh is a free speech expert, and he has written an article on Child Custody Speech Restrictions. Apparently family courts commonly place restrictions on what parents can say to their own kids, and it is doubtful whether the orders are constitutional.

In my case, Judge Kelsay issued these orders:
17. Derogatory Remarks: Parents shall not make, nor permit others to make, derogatory remarks regarding the other parent or the other parent's friends and loved ones to the children nor within the hearing range of the children.
18. Fighting: Parents shall not argue with, threaten, or insult one another nor allow others to argue with, threaten, or insult the other parent in the children's presence.
19. Discussion of Court Matters: Neither parent shall, or allow anyone else to, discuss or allow the children to read information regarding Court matters of custody, visitation, or support, in the presence of the children.
He had no evidentiary or legal basis for the orders; he cited nothing and just said that they were "common sense". After reading Prof. Volokh's article, I believe the orders are unconstitutional, null, and void.

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