Court Rules in Favor of Anonymous Blogger. John Doe v. Cahill, Delaware 04C-011-022 (2005).
"Because the trial judge applied a standard insufficiently protective of Doe's First Amendment right to speak anonymously, we reverse that judgment," Chief Justice Myron Steele wrote.
Steele described the Internet as a "unique democratizing medium unlike anything that has come before," and said anonymous speech in blogs and chat rooms in some instances can become the modern equivalent of political pamphleteering. Accordingly, a plaintiff claiming defamation should be required to provide sufficient evidence to overcome a defendant's motion for summary judgment before a court orders the disclosure of a blogger's identity.
"We are concerned that setting the standard too low will chill potential posters from exercising their First Amendment right to speak anonymously," Steele wrote. "The possibility of losing anonymity in a future lawsuit could intimidate anonymous posters into self-censoring their comments or simply not commenting at all."
Want more? I've got more, yessireebob, as also noted in this Electronic Frontier Foundation story from Joisy. Manalapan v. Moskovitz, Monmouth Cty. L-2893-07.
In a free-speech case that has drawn widespread attention, a New Jersey judge has upheld the right of a blogger to criticize county officials anonymously by telling those officials to take their subpoena seeking the author’s identity and put it where the sun don’t shine.
Judge Terence Flynn in Freehold ruled to quash a subpoena filed by Manalapan Township against Google, seeking the name and account information of the author of the blog — daTruthSquad -- calling the request "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights."
The subpoena is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed in June against Stuart Moskovitz, a former township attorney and mayor. The township contends Moskovitz botched negotiations for a recreational land purchase in 2005. Attorneys for the township believe Moskovitz is the owner of the blog.
That having been said, I haven't even approached any threshold for Defamation, unless Attorney Denner believes he can also sue Judge Moriarty. Good luck on that one. Again, the irritating thing about this is why Attorney Denner can't admit he was wrong, settle with Mr. Gillenwater and move on. Hot damn, he should know the drill by now, after all it's certainly not the first time he's faced a similar issue:
In re Abbott, 437 Mass. 384, 772 N.E.2d 543 (2002). Same inability (read: failure) to monitor the actions of an attorney who worked for him. The attorney Denner was supervising never even filed the man's appeal, and Denner failed to cover for him.