Posts from March 2010.
Posted in Internet

In a decision that raises a host of legal and ethical questions, the Cleveland Plain Dealer today disclosed the identity of someone who had frequently posted anonymous commentary on the newspaper's web site.  According to the paper, the commenter, who used the name "lawmiss," was using the personal email account of local trial Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold and was commenting in harsh terms about cases involving Judge Saffold.

While the Plain Dealer quotes the judge's daughter as admitting to being "lawmiss," this story comes less than two weeks after Judge Saffold ordered the ... Read More 

North Carolina media organizations won a significant victory in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina last week when a group of the state’s media outlets convinced a federal judge to quash subpoenas that sought from the media nearly two years’ worth of news coverage of the Eve Carson murder investigation and court proceedings.

Counsel for Demario James Atwater, the defendant in the federal criminal case, issued subpoenas to media organizations across the state generally seeking all publicly aired broadcasts or published news articles regarding the ... Read More 

In late January, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed that the fair report privilege applied to information attributed to an anonymous source.  The 6-1 decision in Howell v. The Enterprise Publishing Company dismissing the plaintiff's complaint held that so long as the reporter accurately reported what the confidential source reported to him or her, the privilege applied.

As reported by the First Amendment Center, the case involved claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy brought by the former superintendent ... Read More 

Posted in Public Records

A committee of the Florida legislature this week approved on a party-line vote a bill that would require a court order to access 911 call recordings.  This development follows on the heels of efforts in several other states to curtail access to 911 calls under state sunshine laws, a trend on which we previously reported.

On Wednesday, the Government Affairs Policy Committee of the Florida House of Representatives approved by an 8-5 vote proposed committee bill 10-03a, with all Republicans on the committee voting for it and all Democrats voting against.  The bill would exempt "Any ... Read More 


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