Thursday, May 29, 2008

Free speech and family court

I looked at the case that Comm. Joseph cited, Evans v Evans. It ruled:
Thomas Evans (Thomas), a deputy sheriff, sued his former wife, Linda Evans (Linda), and Linda's mother, alleging numerous causes of action, including harassment, {Slip Opn. Page 2} defamation, and breach of privacy. The court then granted Thomas's motion for preliminary injunction, and entered an order enjoining Linda and her mother from: (1) publishing "false and defamatory statements" about Thomas on the Internet; (2) publishing "confidential personal information" about Thomas on the Internet; and (3) contacting Thomas's employer (the San Diego County Sheriff's Department) "regarding [Thomas]" except to call "911 to report criminal conduct."

Linda appeals from the order, raising numerous contentions. We conclude the preliminary injunction was overbroad and constituted an invalid prior restraint before trial. We thus reverse the order and remand for further hearing.
Yes, the order was directly contrary to the First Amendment. A prior restraint on free speech is almost never allowed.

But I don't do that stuff anyway. I do not publish false and defamatory statements, and I do not publish confidential personal information. On this blog, I mainly comment on what happens in open court, and on various news stories.

The Evans opinion is also available as a .doc or .pdf file.

The only contraint that I am under is that Comm. Irwin Joseph ordered me not to publish the report or transcript of the CPS social worker, Sally Mitchell. I had already posted excerpts and summaries on this blog. Perhaps he is now conceding that his order is unconstitutional. I will post the whole report and transcript when I get the chance.

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