The NY Times reports:
Sean Conway was steamed at a Fort Lauderdale judge, so he did what millions of angry people do these days: he blogged about her, saying she was an “Evil, Unfair Witch.”I guess that is how they keep lawyers from badmouthing the courts.
But Mr. Conway is a lawyer. And unlike millions of other online hotheads, he found himself hauled up before the Florida bar, which in April issued a reprimand and a fine for his intemperate blog post.
In another case, it said:
For his part, Mr. Conway noted that the judge he criticized was reprimanded last year by the Florida Supreme Court, which affirmed a state panel’s criticism of what it called an “arrogant, discourteous and impatient” manner with lawyers in another case. ...I am not a lawyer, so I don't have to follow these silly Bar Assn. rules. Nevertheless, I will try to make an effort to expose a valid problem whenever I utter a personal attack.
But the State Supreme Court ultimately concluded that his online “personal attack” was “not uttered in an effort to expose a valid problem” with the judicial system. And so, the court concluded, the statements “fail as protected free speech under the First Amendment.”