Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections as Traditional Journalists – HRO vs Evavold Should Be Dismissed

This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.” ~ Choon James

The purpose of the free press clause of the First Amendment was to keep an eye on people in power and maintain a check on corruption.

Given the cutbacks in traditional media, bloggers have taken up the slack, serving as watchdogs — with attitude…Yet we still see an uninformed attitude from some lawmakers and judges who seem not to understand that digital and social media deserve the same respect as newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. ” ~ Ken Paulson, USA Today: Bloggers have rights, too: Column

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The Crystal Cox lawsuit is a landmark court case that defines, and upholds, the 1st Amendment protections of bloggers.. and is relevant when considering the recent HRO issued against Dede Evavold – blogging is an exercise of protected speech and does NOT constitute ‘harassment’!

Judge Karen Asphaug violated the 1st Amendment Rights of Dede Evavold by issuing a harassment restraining order against her that constrains, and censors, her exercise of free speech. A court cannot issue an order that violates the Constitutional rights of a party; as such the HRO issued by Judge Asphaug is void and should be immediately dismissed.

Dede writes about the HRO: “Most of you are aware of the fact that I was maliciously prosecuted and falsely convicted in the State of Minnesota vs Deirdre Evavold Case No.19HA-CR-15-4227.

There were several conditions beyond state sentencing guidelines imposed on me. However, the one condition that numerous attorneys and rank and file citizens are most amazed by is the restriction on my first amendment right to free speech (Judge Asphaug ordered that I may NOT reference the family involved in this case  on any social media)

As previously reported, I filed a witness tampering complaint against the petitioner in 2016. I had received a harassing and threatening extortion letter from petitioner’s attorney to intimidate me into deleting this blog and coerce me into changing not only my plea but to coerce me into changing my testimony in Sandra’s case. Also,  petitioner coerced and intimidated his daughter into recanting her testimony which led to the addition of 4 more felony charges against me.

Once again, the petitioner is violating the law by: retaliating against a person who was summoned as a witnes..”  For more info on the Evavold HRO please read: When We Lose Free Speech-We Lose Everything

CONSIDER THIS….

Court: Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections as Traditional Journalists

(Source: Slate, Daniel Politi, 1/18/2014)

“A blogger—and, really, the public at large—has the same protections for free speech in the United State as a traditional journalist and can only lose a defamation lawsuit on an issue of public concern if plaintiffs manage to prove negligence.

In a ruling that may come as a surprise to many bloggers who probably didn’t even realize this was even a question, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Crystal Cox, a blogger who had lost a defamation lawsuit in 2011 over a blog post that accused an Oregon bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of fraud, reports the Associated Press. A jury had awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million.

 

To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment,’ writes Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox.”

 

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Confirmed: Bloggers Have First Amendment Rights as Corporate Media

(Source: Huff Post, ‘The Blog’. Choon James, 1/24/2014)

“On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company – Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth…
This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It’s not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever.

Blog away!”

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Court Says Bloggers are Journalists Too

(Source: Law Street, Anneliese Mahoney, 1/21/2014)

Last week, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the same standards that apply to journalists in print media also apply to bloggers and anyone else. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press member Gregg Leslie said, ‘it’s not a special right to the news media. So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.’

The case came from a Montana blogger named Crystal L. Cox….

The Court stated,

The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.” They went on to cite cases in which individual speakers have been granted First Amendment rights, despite not being a part of the established press. For example, the First Amendment rights of authors have often been protected, regardless of their training, background, or affiliations.

This is very good news for anyone who has a blog or even a desire to post things in an individual capacity on their social network…”

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Egregious Behavior Behind Bars – Grazzini-Rucki PREA Complaint

As previously reported by Red Herring Alert, while being held at the Ramsey County workhouse, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki suffered a head injury on November 24, 205 that required brief hospitalizationSandra Grazzini-Rucki Hospitalized (With Updates)

In an exclusive update that you will hear first on Red Herring Alert, shocking details emerge from the Workhouse about the serious nature of Sandra’s injuries, and how she was mistreated and humiliated by the officer on guard, Deputy Timothy Gonder.

Sandra has filed a PREA Complaint with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office in care of Sheriff Tim Leslie on May 17th detailing this incident, that can be read in full hereSandra Grazzini-Rucki PREA Complaint – May 17, 2016

Sheriff Tim Leslie, Dakota County

Sheriff Tim Leslie

According to the complaint, Sandra suffered a serious injury to the face that involved fractured bones and a substantial amount of blood loss. Sandra was transported handcuffed and leg shackled to a stretcher from the workhouse to a local hospital.

At approximately 0400-0500 hours Deputy Timothy Gonder arrived at the hospital to relieve the guard on duty and assume watch over Sandra; her suffering was greatly exacerbated by the cruel and humiliating treatment he inflicted on her.

The PREA Complaint filed by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki includes the following allegations:

  • Deputy Gonder intruded on her medical care, and denied her privacy, even when instructed to wait behind a curtain when instructed by medical staff. Deputy Gonder even refused to look away (as instructed) when she had to use the bathroom.
  • Deputy Gonder waited when medical staff left the room and then took out his personal cell phone and snapped pictures without her consent; and then was observed to be laughing and talking on the same phone – presumably sending out pictures (via text) of a vulnerable, and bruised woman who was incapacitated due to the hand and leg cuffs and totally unable to stop these violations against her person. Deputy Gonder also relayed confidential medical and personal information he received from medical staff to whoever was on the phone.              (PREA § 115.6 Definitions related to sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes—(8) Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer. Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer means an invasion of privacy of an inmate, detainee, or resident by staff for reasons unrelated to official duties, such as peering at an inmate who is using a toilet in his or her cell to perform bodily functions; requiring an inmate to expose his or her buttocks, genitals, or breasts; or taking images of all or part of an inmate’s naked body or of an inmate performing bodily functions.)
  • Shackled her on the bed in a spread eagle position and refused to allow the nurse to shut the door for privacy. The nurse also asked to release the leg shackle so she could change positions, and that request was also denied.
  • Deputy Gonder is also accused of laughing and making inappropriate remarks at various times during her hospital stay, and after, at the Dakota County Courthouse.

Sandra asked for another guard because her attorney has an active case, involving various complaints, against Gonder. Her request was not only refused but Deputy Gonder laughed and allegedly stated “nobody else was available but him”.

When Deputy Gonder was finally relieved of his position, the incoming guard was reported to be much more professional, and to have treated Sandra with basic dignity and respect.

Inmates do have basic rights and are protected by the U.S. Constitution, “Any punishment that can be considered inhumane treatment or that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be found to be cruel and unusual.” (http://civilrights.findlaw.com/other-constitutional-rights/rights-of-inmates.html)  Inmates also have the right to complain about how they are treated while incarcerated. PREA stands for The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct and/or harassment in correctional settings.

Red Herring Alert will continue to keep you updated on the Grazzini-Rucki Trial, so please check back for breaking news and reports.