Anybody Cheering for Bogus First Amendment Lawsuits is Our Common Enemy

Marc J. Randazza Fighting For Free Speech

Managing partner at Randazza Legal Group

Marc Randazza is a nationally-recognized First Amendment and Intellectual Property attorney, the managing partner of Randazza Legal Group, a commentator on CNN and Popehat, and the editor of the Legal Satyricon blog. Mr. Randazza is a civil litigator who primarily practices in the areas of First Amendment law, which includes Defamation defense and Civil Rights litigation, and Intellectual Property law which includes Trademark registrations, Copyright litigation, and Domain name disputes.

Marc Randazza first became interested in the First Amendment during his studies at the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst. He studied journalism and focused on the First Amendment related legal issues many journalists struggle against, such as censorship. Mr. Randazza also worked as a journalist in Washington, DC; Rome; and Palermo, Italy.

Marc Randazza studied law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree. After graduating, Mr. Randazza received a fellowship from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. Randazza spent his time there doing research, working on his publications, and lecturing on First Amendment and intellectual property law issues.

Today Marc Randazza has more than a dozen academic publications related to the First Amendment issues and other legal matters. As an attorney, he aggressively represents those whose constitutional rights were violated. As an active First Amendment litigator and the managing partner of the Randazza Legal Group, Randazza actively recruits and works with many attorneys who share his same passion for the U.S. Constitution. Randazza Legal Group is a boutique law firm that handles select cases related to the First Amendment and Intellectual Property.

It’s crucial for Marc Randazza that his law firm abides by the following principal policy: the attorneys do not take cases if the proposed/desired course of action may harm the Constitution. Mr. Randazza believes that people have the right to express even the most unpopular opinions without fear of government censorship.

For example, Marc Randazza successfully defended a popular online platform for consumer reviews, against a defamation lawsuit filed by Roca Labs[1]. Throughout his career as a First Amendment and intellectual property attorney, Marc Randazza has handled a number of anti-SLAPP lawsuits, defamation, and copyright infringement cases, as well as international domain arbitrations, including ones before the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Additionally, Mr. Randazza regularly writes for his CNN column, where he discusses the most burning issues and news related to First Amendment matters. He’s a frequent commentator for national media and contributor to online legal blogs like the Legal Satyricon Blog.

The outcome of each legal case depends upon many factors, including the facts of the case, and no attorney can guarantee a positive result in any particular case.

Randazza Legal Group’s office is headquartered in Las Vegas and is managed by Marc Randazza. The branch offices are located in Miami, Florida; San Francisco, California; Hartford, Connecticut; and Gloucester, Massachusetts. Mr. Randazza is available by appointment only.


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You Can’t Be Locked Up for Speech

Minnesota’s criminal defamtion law unconstitutional, court says

By  | Associated Press PUBLISHED: 

The decision reverses the conviction of Timothy Turner, who was found guilty of criminal defamation after he posted sexually explicit Internet ads in 2013 that appeared to be posted by his ex-girlfriend and her underage daughter. The ads led multiple men to contact both females for sex; some sent pornographic images to the girl.

Turner admitted he posted the ads because he was angry.

The judges found Minnesota’s criminal defamation law violates the First Amendment because it allows for the prosecution of true statements, which are protected speech, as well as false statements. They also found it doesn’t require the state to prove “actual malice,” knowledge that a statement is false or made with reckless disregard for the truth.

The appeals court said that “although the appellant’s conduct was reprehensible and defamatory, we cannot uphold his conviction under an unconstitutional statute.”

Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad said prosecutors respect the court’s decision but they are disappointed on behalf of the victims. Assistant County Attorney Deanna Natoli said prosecutors don’t know if they will appeal.

Turner’s attorney, John Arechigo, said the appeals court made the right decision based on legal issues presented.

“This type of challenge, it wasn’t necessarily advocating for the type of behavior that the defendant engaged in,” he said.

Continue Reading


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Minnesota Criminal Defamation Statute Declared Unconstitutional

THE MINNESOTA COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECLARED THE MINNESOTA CRIMINAL DEFAMATION STATUTE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

The Court released a published opinion today holding the statute unconstitutionally overbroad.  For those familiar with our criminal defamation appeal, it appears as though the fight is over.

The Court agreed with our argument in several areas.  Our primary argument all along had been that the Minnesota criminal defamation statute punishes true statements.  True statements are absolutely protected.  This is not up for debate.  The Court of Appeals agreed and was clear in its opinion when it stated the statute’s “requirement that the truth be communicated with good motives and justifiable ends violates First Amendment protections,” “because it penalizes protected speech — true statements — in addition to unprotected speech — false statements.”

The other major shortcoming of the Minnesota criminal defamation statute was that it punished statements on matters of public concern without requiring a showing that the speaker knew the statement was false.

KNOWLEDGE OF FALSITY (OR RECKLESS DISREGARD OF THE LIKELIHOOD OF FALSITY) IS A REQUIRED ELEMENT OF A CIVIL DEFAMATION CLAIM.

A civil plaintiff must make this showing in order to collect punitive damages.  The Minnesota criminal defamation statute failed to contain this required element.  This argument was excellently addressed by Eugene Volokh.  The Court agreed with Volokh’s argument that it is not “permissible to jail people under a lesser showing than that required to collect punitive damages from them.”

Our final argument convinced the Court that the statute would have to be re-written in order to be constitutional.  In some very limited circumstances, a court can declare a statute unconstitutional but can save it from ultimately holding the statute unconstitutional by narrowly applying it to reach only a very specific action.  However, if a court would be required to essentially rewrite the statute or strike language from a statute, then the court must declare the statute unconstitutional. The Court disagreed with the State’s argument that the criminal defamation statute could be narrowly tailored to survive our challenge.  The Court noted doing so “would require a rewrite” of the statute, which is the job of the legislature.

THE FACT THAT THE COURT ISSUED A PUBLISHED OPINION IN THIS CASE IS ENCOURAGING.

Opinions from the Court of Appeals are either unpublished or published.  The majority of opinions are unpublished. Unpublished opinions are not binding on the lower courts, meaning district court judges are not bound to follow an unpublished opinion from the Court of Appeals.  Published opinions, however, are binding.  District court judges throughout Minnesota are bound to follow a published opinion from the Court of Appeals.  Our win effectively means that all pending criminal defamation charges in Minnesota must be dismissed.

At this point, the Minnesota criminal defamation statute is dead.

Constitutional Issues

The People Strike Back

Alex Jones was at the National Press Club in Washington DC on April 10 to discuss anti-free speech lawsuits targeting his First Amendment rights.

Numerous lawsuits have been launched on the premise of attracting media attention and defaming Alex Jones and Infowars’ reputation. While many on the left routinely celebrate the lawsuits when they are filed, those same people have been noticeably less vocal when the lawsuits collapse.

Ken White, a First Amendment litigator at Brown White & Osborn, said the suit was more of a PR stunt and could run afoul of Texas law.

“Texas has a very strong anti-SLAPP law. If InfoWars can frame the lawsuit as being more broadly about the content of its speech in general (or about the speech of third-party commenters, for whom InfoWars is not responsible under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act), the plaintiff faces a real risk of an anti-SLAPP ruling,” said White.  | Infowars.com


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Latest victims of conservative censorship speak out

SILENCING ACT

As most of you are aware, I am the target of a relentless online smear campaign by Michael Brodkorb and supporters. My ability to defend against these attacks has been censored by judges due to my false felony convictions.

The article below addresses the fundamental right of freedom of expression and supports the case that censorship is rarely justified.

Columbia Journalism Review

Judge weighs in favor of First Amendment by striking down ‘Silencing Act’

By Anna Clark  MAY 1, 2015

WHEN PENNSYLVANIA LAWMAKERS EARLIER THIS YEAR passed a statute that threatened the relationship between journalists and sources who had been convicted of a violent crime, a coalition of media outlets, journalists, inmates, and advocacy groups fought back. This week, a federal judge ruled in their favor, striking down the law in a decision that resounds as a passionate homage to the First Amendment.

“The right to free expression is the shared right to empower and uplift, and to criticize and condemn; to call to action, and to beg restraint; to debate with rancor, and to accede with reticence; to advocate offensively, and to lobby politely,” wrote Christopher Connor, chief judge of the federal court for Pennsylvania’s Middle District, in an April 28 ruling. He faulted the law for being unconstitutionally vague and over-broad, and for restricting free expression based on content: “The First Amendment does not evanesce at any gate, and its enduring guarantee of freedom of speech subsumes the right to expressive conduct that some might find offensive.”

The Revictimization Relief Act—dubbed the “Silencing Act” by critics—was introduced by state Rep. Mike Vereb on Oct. 2, 2014, after the prison activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is incarcerated for killing a Philadelphia police officer, was invited to give a recorded commencement address to a small Vermont college. Abu-Jamal is a controversial figure, and the news that he was getting a public platform to speak sparked a backlash. The law authorized victims of personal injury crimes to bring civil actions, and prosecutors to seek injunctions, in order to block or penalize conduct that “perpetuates the continuing effect of [a] crime on the victim” and “causes “a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish” It passed within 15 days.

In addition to the direct effect on inmates and ex-offenders, for reporters, the law amounted to “a standing gag order on an entire population of potential sources,” journalist Christopher Moraff wrote in January. The statute’s broad language also raised questions about whether publishers could themselves be liable. So the legal challenge came quickly: Philadelphia’s City PaperPrison Legal NewsSolitary Watch and individual reporters Daniel Denvir and Moraff were among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit backed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton. It merged with a separate suit filed by Abu-Jamal and prison activists, including Prison Radio and the Human Rights Coalition, both of which publish work by people in prison.

A bench trial was held on March 30. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane defended the law as not restricting expression, but rather “behavior” that taunted and harassed victims. Because the law is about conduct rather than speech, she argued, it requires a lesser standard of constitutional scrutiny.

But the judge concluded that since its passage, the law “has had an undeniable chilling effect on the speech of prisoners and on the behavior of those individuals and entities who rely on that speech,” citing, among other things, a decision by Prison Legal News to withhold publication of an article by Abu-Jamal. “Indeed,” the judge wrote, “throughout its brief legislative gestation, the law was championed primarily as a device for suppressing offender speech.”

Eli Segal, a Pepper Hamilton associate, said the ruling “leaves journalists in Pennsylvania free to investigate and report on criminal justice issues of great public importance—wrongful convictions and prison conditions to name just a few—without being afraid that their offender sources will be chilled from speaking with them”—or that they themselves will be enjoined or dragged into court for publishing what their sources say.

Denvir, an occasional CJR contributor, said he was relieved the law was struck down “so emphatically and articulately.”

“It was a frontal assault on the free speech rights of journalists,” he said, “most straightforwardly because it allowed judges to basically block an inmate or ex-offender from speaking to us as reporters, shutting down critical sources that we need to do the absolutely necessary reporting on the American criminal justice system.”

“This was a big victory for free speech in Pennsylvania, but at the same time, I think it’s a big victory for freedom of the press, which was a secondary victim of the law and is why I got involved,” said Moraff. He is at work on a story about a juvenile lifer in Pennsylvania. As part of an ongoing dialogue they “certainly discussed the potential for this law to complicate” the reporting, he said.

Moraff added that Judge Connor, an appointee of President George W. Bush, “is certainly not a bleeding-heart liberal… That removes any political implications of this ruling…. This was not an ideological ruling in any shape or form.”

Still, this battle may not be over: Rep. Vereb told The Associated Press that he would rewrite the act if the attorney general did not appeal the verdict. “This is the first ring of the bell in this fight,” he said.

Anna Clark is a journalist in Detroit. Her writing has appeared in ELLE MagazineThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, Next City, and other publications. Anna edited A Detroit Anthology, a Michigan Notable Book, and she was a 2017 Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. Her book, The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, will be published in April 2018 by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt. She is online at www.annaclark.net and on Twitter@annaleighclark.

‘FREE SPEECH’ SUIT AIMS TO END TWITTER’S POLITICAL CENSORSHIP

Image result for twitter images

Conservatives tired of being targeted and silenced on social media

A group of free-speech lawyers filed the most serious legal challenge yet to Twitter’s censorship policies Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeking a ruling preventing Twitter from banning users purely on the basis of their views and political associations.

The 29-page complaint contends that, under a California legal doctrine that recognizes some private facilities as “public forums,” Twitter may not discriminate against speech on their platform based purely on viewpoint.

If successful, it would be the first extension of that doctrine to internet social media platforms and could transform the way free speech is treated online.

The suit became all the more relevant Wednesday as Twitter stood accused of locking out thousands of conservatives under the guise of cracking down on “Russian bots.”

Read more

 

Illegal Gag Orders

A gag order or suppression order is a formal directive which forbids people from discussing something publicly. In other words, the gag order is a form of censorship in which intimidation and threats are used to control information being disseminated to the public.

Below is an article regarding how the legal system is misusing harassment restraining orders to restrict free speech, which is what is being done in my case.  MA’AM, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!

‘You are also ordered not to post any further information about the [plaintiff]’

By Eugene Volokh August 24, 2015 Blue Email Symbol images Email the author

As many readers of this blog know, I’ve long been interested in how criminal harassment laws and restraining order laws have been morphing from restricting unwanted speech to people into restricting speech about people.

Such laws have traditionally covered unwanted phone calls, unwanted letters, unwanted attempts at face-to-face conversation and the like: again, speech to a particular person. Courts have generally upheld such restrictions on speech, and in many instances, plausibly so. As the Supreme Court held in 1970 in upholding a statute that let people block continued unwanted mailings into their homes, “no one has a right to press even ‘good’ ideas on an unwilling recipient.”

But in recent years, courts and prosecutors have increasingly used these laws to cover statements said to the public at large about particular people. Speakers have been prosecuted for posting repeated offensive messages or distributing offensive flyers about people (including about political and religious figures). Courts have issued orders barring speakers from saying anything about a person and ordering speakers to take down existing posts about that person. I wrote a law journal article about this two years ago, “One-To-One Speech vs. One-To-Many Speech, Criminal Harassment Laws, and “Cyberstalking,” 107 Nw. U. L. Rev. 731 (2013); I’ve also filed friend-of-the-court briefs on the subject in six different cases (in GeorgiaMassachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin) and last year had the pleasure of arguing on behalf of amici in one such case, Chan v. Ellis — this March, the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the speech-restrictive order in that case.

Friday, I filed a friend-of-the-court brief in another such case, Van Valkerburg v. Gjoni, now pending in Massachusetts appellate court. The brief is on behalf of Prof. Aaron Caplan (author of “Free Speech and Civil Harassment Orders,” 64 Hastings L.J. 781 (2013), and one of the amici in Chan v. Ellis) and me; Daniel Lyne and Ted Folkman of Murphy & King (and, in Ted’s case, of Letters Blogatory: The Blog of International Judicial Assistance) were kind enough to agree to be our pro bono counsel, for which I’m very grateful. (For our nonlawyer readers, a “friend-of-the-court brief” simply means a brief by people or entities that aren’t the plaintiff or the defendant or some other party to the litigation, and who thus have no direct stake in the case but just want to argue in favor of what they think is the correct result. It doesn’t mean that the brief was invited by the court, though occasionally courts do indeed expressly invite the filing of such briefs.)

In Van Valkerburg, a Massachusetts trial court issued an order providing that Gjoni is

        Ordered not to post any further information about the [plaintiff] or
        her personal life on line or to encourage “hate mobs”

That order, we argue, is a clear violation of the First Amendment, for reasons we explain in the brief, which I’m also quoting below. A court can’t order someone to just stop saying anything about a person. Certain narrow categories of speech about people are constitutionally unprotected (such as true threats of violence, speech that is intended to and likely to incite people to imminent criminal conduct, and possibly certain kinds of speech that reveals highly private information). But this order goes vastly beyond any such narrow First Amendment exceptions.

Now the story behind this case is considerably higher-profile than the ones I’ve written about before: The post that led to the order is at the heart of the so-called “Gamergate” controversy, which some readers might be acquainted with. Eron Gjoni was briefly romantically involved with Chelsea Van Valkenburg, a computer game developer who used the pen name Zoe Quinn, and who I am told has recently changed her name legally to Zoe Quinn. (The case was entered into the court system under the name Van Valkerburg rather than Van Valkenburg or Quinn, so the briefs use Van Valkerburg.) After they broke up, Gjoni wrote a series of blog posts about Van Valkenburg, in which he accused her — whether or not accurately — of mistreating him in various ways during his relationship. This post in turn led to various accusations about supposed misdeeds in the video gaming industry, and various threats of violence against Van Valkenburg by people who have apparently taken Gjoni’s side.

Naturally, there are many possible legal actions that might be contemplated here. If Gjoni made false factual assertions about Van Valkenburg, she could sue him for libel or under the “false light” tort. If he said things about her that were highly personal and not viewed by courts as of legitimate public concern, she could sue him under the “disclosure of private facts” tort, though that doctrine is quite narrow and complex (for many reasons, including some you can see from Part II of the brief).

Certainly, people who send death threats could be prosecuted for that, though of course it’s often hard to track them down, or even to get the police and prosecutors interested in the matter. In principle, if it can be shown that some statement was intended to and likely to incite people to imminent criminal conduct — i.e., conduct within the next few hours or maybe days, rather than at some unspecified time in the future — that could be punished as well, though that’s an extremely narrow First Amendment exception. (The Supreme Court has struggled since the 1910s with the question of when speech can be restricted because it may lead some of its readers to commit crimes; this ultimately led to the development of the incitement exception, which I just paraphrased, and which the Court set forth and elaborated in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)Hess v. Indiana(1973), and NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982).) Such criminal and civil liability might be constitutional, under the right circumstances, since there are indeed some narrow exceptions to First Amendment protection into which this liability could fit.

Continue Reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/08/24/you-are-also-ordered-not-to-post-any-further-information-about-the-plaintiff/?utm_term=.e292245bdcae

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and an intensive editing workshop at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.

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You Can Learn A Lot About the Weaknesses of Your Enemies By Studying What They Attack

MaryGSykes.com

CONFIRMED BY ILL. SUPREME COURT– YOU ARE VIEWING THE MOST DANGEROUS BLOG IN ILLINOIS. This blog warranted a 3 year suspension by the ARDC/Jerome Larkin! Mottos: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”. Justice Louis Brandeis ; “If the truth can destroy something, then it deserves to be destroyed” Carl Sagan; “Justice is Truth in Action” Benjamin Disraeli. Illinois uses the ARDC to quash dissenting attorney activist blogs ; “The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments” — (1776-First Amendment preamble adopted by 8 US colonies)

Cease and Desist Letter from Circuit Court Judge Diane Joan Larsen–why would she even care about this humble corruption blog?

Posted on August 1, 2017

So last week, I received a cease and desist letter from Judge Larsen of the Circuit Court.  I called right away to find out what it was about and asked for her email.

No response.

So then I drafted a letter in response.

She claims I published her “personal information” and that of her husband, which I don’t get, it’s all public information and SHE, not me, caused it all to be published with her own signatures and that of her husband.

It all runs smack dab up against the First Amendment to the US Constitution and the Illinois Free Speech clause.

She is making these douments public herself, by her own personal signature and her own personal actions.  She doesn’t want them on a blog.  I think it looks questionable.  Many of my readers think it all looks questionable.

She asks for a response in 72 hours and doesn’t give enough information, including the specific URL what is offending her and her husband.

Hmmm, more fish to look at.

She perfectly knows well the rule is now according to SCOI, you have to put your email on pleadings.  She has not sent me her email or any email at all.

But I have angels on my side and after a period of time and prayer, they got the entire situation to me, as they always do.

So, below is her letter, which I don’t get.  Why would she accuse me of divulging personal information when she well knows that the Cook County Recorder of Deeds puts property information on their website?  Seems strange.

It’s also relevant to her job and the right of the public to know who is taking salaries that are really taxpayer funds.

It’s nothing that should not be published every time the Sun Times recommends a judge or politician for that matter.  They recommend, they should publish property records in a discernible manner.

Here is her very strange letter, which I can’t figure out and which she has not responded to any inquiry.

State of Illinois
Circuit Court of Cook County
Chicago. illinoiS 60602

July 21, 2017

Joanne Denison
5330 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60646

It has come to my attention that you have published on the internet personal information regarding myself, Including but not limited to information concerning my residence. In accordance with the provisions of “The Judicial Privacy Act!’ (70S ILCS 90/2-5 et seq.) (the “Act”), I hereby request that you cease and desist in publishing any personal information regarding myself. I further request that you remove from any internet site under your direction or control any personal information regarding myself that has already been posted. This request specifically includes, without limitation, the personal information posted on the following web address http://www.Marygsykes.com.Thisjudicial request also includes a request to cease and desist in the publication of any personal information of my spouse Edward Maliszewski and a request for removal of all such personal information posted to date.

To assist. you in compliance with the Act, I am enclosing a copy along with this request of the Rule. Your prompt attention to this matter within 72 hours, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, is expected.

Respectfully,

Diane Joan Larsen
Judge of the Circuit Court
of Cook County

Continue Reading: https://marygsykes.com/2017/08/01/cease-and-desist-letter-from-circuit-court-judge-diane-joane-larsen-why-would-she-even-care-about-this-humble-corruption-blog/


What others have said about Hon. Diane Joan Larsen 

ROBEPROBE.COM

http://www.robeprobe.com/find_judges_result2.php?judge_id=4620&judge_Diane%20Joan__Larsen