Friday, October 17, 2008

I have a right to discuss my trial

Next Tuesday, I go on trial for reporting on this blog the evidence that was presented against me publicly in open court. Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph has already said that there are no facts in my defense, and that he intends to sentence me to ten days in jail.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the appellate court decided a similar issue. A newspaper was a defendant in a civil trial, and the trial court judge ordered it not to report on the testimony of witnesses in the case. The order was overruled:
Like all gag orders, the trial court’s order restricting The Register’s ability to report on the upcoming trial is presumptively invalid. A prior restraint is the “most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights.” Such an order is a “most extraordinary remedy” that may be used “only in ‘exceptional cases’ ... where the evil that would result from the reportage is both great and certain and cannot be militated by less intrusive measures.”

The United States Supreme Court has offered two examples of the sort of “exceptional” situations in which a prior restraint might be justified: to prevent the dissemination of information about troop movements during wartime or to “suppress[] information that would set in motion a nuclear holocaust.”

The same result obtains under the California Constitution, which “provides an even broader guarantee of the right of free speech and the press than does the First Amendment.” Because we conclude the order preventing The Register from reporting on trial testimony is unconstitutional under both the United States and California Constitutions, it must immediately fall. “[E]very moment’s continuance of [a prior restraint] amounts to a flagrant, indefensible, and continuing violation of the First Amendment.” [citations omitted]
All I did here was to report on the witness against me, CPS agent Sally Mitchell, who testified that the worst thing that I ever did was to set the alarm clock for 7:00 so that my kids could wake up in time for school.

For that, Cmr. Joseph and Julie Travers want to jail me. If they win, then the USA will have three exceptions to free speech: troop movements during wartime, triggers for a nuclear holocaust, and alarm clocks for school attendance.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your free speech arguments, perhaps now is the time to remove any confidential information from this blog, in compliance with the courts recent order (Wed.) to seal the CPS testimony. Perhaps this would avoid jail time.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your free speech arguments, perhaps now is the time to remove any confidential information from this blog, in compliance with the courts recent order (Wed.) to seal the CPS testimony. Perhaps this would avoid jail time.

MissBehavingChick said...

If come this far!!! stand strong!! If you have to go to Jail.... for the CAUSE. Hopefully Mercury News will pick up on it