Friday, July 25, 2008

Police director sues for critical bloggers' names

A reader sent this Tennessee story:
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis have filed a lawsuit to learn who operates a blog harshly critical of Godwin and his department.

The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

"In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment," the anonymous bloggers write on the site, "Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States.
Americans have a free speech right to anonymously criticize the government, of course.

This blog is not that sort of anonymous blog. Everyone in the local family court knows exactly who I am. What I say here about my case is pretty much the same as what I say in open court. There are just a few differences. One difference is that when I am in court, I try to stick to comments that are relevant to the particular issue in dispute. On this blog, I make more general comments about what I think is wrong with the system.

Another difference is that I am a little more blunt here on the blog. For example, I will refer to the local family court judge as "Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph" in court papers, but here I might also mention that he is commonly known in town as "Junk Justice Joseph". Even still, I try to always use his title of "Commissioner", or the abbreviation "Comm.". He once gave me a big lecture in court on how titles are very important to him, and on how offended he was that I once omitted someone's title in one of my court filings. He made me promise to use titles in the future, and he said that he was not going to tolerate such disrespect. It seemed rather petty to me, but I did not want any unnecessary fights with the guy, so I always use his title.

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