Thursday, July 23, 2009

Court tries censor complaints about family court

Rhode Island news:
WARWICK -- A child custody case has spawned a case about free speech and just who is allowed to talk about the intricate details of court proceedings and where.

Michelle Bouthillier Langlois, 41, has opinions about her brother Michael Bouthillier's child custody case with his ex-wife. And lately, she'd taken to sharing her thoughts via status updates on Facebook. Like this one:

"Court postponed to May 27. Another month Michael not allowed to see nor speak with his children. More time for children to forget their biological dad and bond with step-father. So much for the Judicial System! Michael has seen his children about five times and spoke to them maybe 10 since November 25th!!!!!!" ...

In June, Judge Michael Forte agreed with Martin, issuing a court order restraining Langlois from posting details about Martin’s children, and the pending Family Court case, on the Internet. ...

That’s a clear violation of Langlois’ First Amendment rights, said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Every person has the right to comment on public court proceedings, and the court order that prevents Ms. Langlois from doing so on the Internet is precisely the sort of prior restraining on speech that the First Amendment was designed to protect against,” Brown said in the statement. “Ms. Langlois should no more be barred from speaking out about this case than should a reporter seeking to post information about it on a newspaper Web site.”
It appears that some family courts really hate to have public scrutiny of their evil actions.

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