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Case threatens anonymity for website 'comments'
WorldNetdaily.com ^ | February 28, 2009 | Drew Zahn

Posted on 03/01/2009 4:50:47 AM PST by Man50D

A judge in one of the nation's most brutal carjacking and murder cases has openly questioned in court whether news websites – such as those covering his trial – should be permitted to allow open and anonymous "comments" sections at the bottom of Internet-posted stories.

"I'm saying if there is a profit, there is a responsibility that goes with it," said Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner of Knox County, Tenn., to an attorney for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"This is not the Internet. This is a site created by you in which you invite comments," the judge stated. "This is something you control."

Richard Hollow, the newspaper's attorney, argued that a court-imposed policy on the "comments" sections would be an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment free speech rights.

"What the court is asking us to do is … set up a board of censorship," Hollow said.

The legal wrangling is part of the trial of five suspects charged in the January 2007 carjacking, rape and murder of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, in Knoxville, Tenn.

(Excerpt) Read more at worldnetdaily.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: channonchristian; internet; knoxville; lawsuit

1 posted on 03/01/2009 4:50:47 AM PST by Man50D
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To: Man50D

The judge is an idiot and should be thrown off the case and lose his position as judge. Censor that you f’ing jerk!


2 posted on 03/01/2009 4:54:23 AM PST by Crazieman (Feb 7, 2008 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1966675/posts?page=28#28)
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To: Man50D
I'm sure the judge doesn't want the gruesome details of this horrific crime to be public and widespread knowledge.....people might get enlightened.

..therefore, he proposes to suppress the truth.

3 posted on 03/01/2009 4:57:36 AM PST by Guenevere ("He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose")
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To: Crazieman

I second that, hey Judge BUMgartner?!?!

Up yours, ya f—kin’ Nazi!


4 posted on 03/01/2009 4:57:59 AM PST by mkjessup (You're either with our Constitution, or you are with TKU ("The Kenyan Usurper"). CHOOSE!!!)
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To: Man50D

Maybe the judge should spend a little time surfing the internet for some education.

The plethora of filth, hate, and desensitizing gore is nothing less than shocking and shameful.

If there is to be *ANY* censorship of the internet, it should start with incitements to murder and genocide, gratuitous sexual content, and “snuff” videos, including those posted by the Jihadi savages.


5 posted on 03/01/2009 4:59:40 AM PST by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: Man50D

Remember, this is the case that forever established the principle that white people can not be the victims of hate crimes.


6 posted on 03/01/2009 4:59:46 AM PST by NavVet ( If you don't defend Conservatism in the Primaries, you won't have it to defend in November)
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To: Man50D
A judge in one of the nation's most brutal carjacking and murder cases has openly questioned in court whether news websites – such as those covering his trial – should be permitted to allow open and anonymous "comments" sections at the bottom of Internet-posted stories.

So here are my questions for the judge:

1. What's the operative law or legal precedent, if any, that would warrant control of verbal commentary?

2. What's the compelling state interest, if any, in controlling such commentary?

It seems to me that the private-property argument mitigates for a free-speech interpretation, rather than against it.

7 posted on 03/01/2009 5:05:28 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Westbrook
The plethora of filth, hate, and desensitizing gore is nothing less than shocking and shameful.

And that's just the home page at DU.

8 posted on 03/01/2009 5:06:23 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The Fairness Doctrine isn't about "Fairness" - it's about Doctrine.)
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To: Man50D
"This is not the Internet. This is a site created by you in which you invite comments,"

Huh?

9 posted on 03/01/2009 5:07:16 AM PST by milestogo
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To: Hardastarboard

> And that’s just the home page at DU.

:)

That’s among the reasons that I *NEVER* visit that site


10 posted on 03/01/2009 5:08:40 AM PST by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: Man50D

If the cities ignite, will Obama’s 9/08 “get in their face” command mean anything?


11 posted on 03/01/2009 5:11:02 AM PST by polymuser (Wake up, America!)
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To: Man50D

This isn’t so cut and dried. I think cases like these need to be viewed, cases by case.

More from the article:

The legal wrangling is part of the trial of five suspects charged in the January 2007 carjacking, rape and murder of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, in Knoxville, Tenn.

As WND reported, five defendants face nearly 50 counts of kidnapping, robbery, gang-rape, murder and theft charges after Christian and Newsom were abducted, assaulted and tortured repeatedly over a period – probably of days – before being shot and killed.

Details in the aftermath of the slayings were not widely released, leading to a flurry of speculation – much of it unfounded – on the grisly details of the crime.

Internet “comment” sections also became a hotbed of discussion with particularly racial themes, as the victims were white and alleged perpetrators black.

Allowing anonymous, irresponsible comments to be published online, the petition argues, contaminates the jury and violates defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial.

An attorney for WBIR-TV, which along with the News Sentinel is specifically named in the petition, argued that the “comments” sections of their websites constitute a “giant bulletin board,” and as such is protected by the First Amendment.


This is a perfect example showing how sometimes protecting the rights of one group can infringe upon the rights of another.


12 posted on 03/01/2009 5:14:34 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Man50D

What if we didn’t have the internet? What if people sent post cards through the mail to each other about the case? Would he want the cards screened?


13 posted on 03/01/2009 5:17:02 AM PST by Dallas59 ("You know the one with the big ears? He might be yours, but he ain't my president.")
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To: Hardastarboard
And that's just the home page at DU.

I thought it was the judge's FaceBook page.

14 posted on 03/01/2009 5:20:46 AM PST by Lion Den Dan
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To: Netizen
This is a perfect example showing how sometimes protecting the rights of one group can infringe upon the rights of another.

That's assuming everyone agrees on the definition of what are considered irresponsible comments and who makes that decision. That makes it very subjective and creates a slippery slope of censorship. There are two courts. The court of law and the court of public opinion. Their purposes often collide. The latter can't be shutdown without violating the 1st amendment.
15 posted on 03/01/2009 5:26:44 AM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it!)
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To: Man50D

The judge is afraid the jurors will be influenced by the TRUTH! Judge and defense attorney: There is no Constitutional right for the accused to have STUPID, IGNORANT jurors!


16 posted on 03/01/2009 5:27:39 AM PST by 2harddrive (...House a TOTAL Loss.....)
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To: Man50D

Hey, where’s Jesse and Al? Oh yea—that’s only perceived white on black injustice like Duke La Crosse players. If any black thugs maime and kill whites, it’s just an ordinary crime by boyz in the hood who were misunderstood. I’m sick of this crap.


17 posted on 03/01/2009 5:33:16 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: Man50D
The court of law and the court of public opinion.

That's exactly what they are complaining about. The court of public opinion (the comments) are jeopardizing the court of law.

18 posted on 03/01/2009 5:33:31 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen
That's exactly what they are complaining about. The court of public opinion (the comments) are jeopardizing the court of law.

It's not agreed they are jeopardizing the court of law procedures.
19 posted on 03/01/2009 5:35:05 AM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it!)
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To: Man50D

TOR
http://www.torproject.org/


20 posted on 03/01/2009 5:35:52 AM PST by Bobalu (McCain has been proven to be the rino flop I always thought he was.)
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To: Man50D
That's assuming everyone agrees on the definition of what are considered irresponsible comments and who makes that decision. That makes it very subjective and creates a slippery slope of censorship

Tell you what. Try posting racially inflammatory comments here at FR and see if the mods try to censure you.

21 posted on 03/01/2009 5:37:06 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen
“contaminates the jury and violates defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial.”
Another attempt to confuse the public that the right to a fair trial, when you clients are obviously guilty, means you have a right to be tried by twelve ghetto hoods that believe in an inherent right to rape and murder. Funny how this only becomes an “issue” when the victims are white and the defendants black. I don't remember much outrage about contaminating the jury pool when a group of lacrosse players were being tried and convicted in the media when they were falsely accused by a black prostitute seeking a “white guilt” payday.
The defendants have a right to a fair trial. The jury and the world have the right to hear the evidence of the crime, the reasons why these defendants are the ones that committed the crime to the exclusion of doubt. And the world has the right to say whatever they feel about it. And, if these are the 5 asshats that did indeed torture and then murder, the death penalty should be swiftly applied.
22 posted on 03/01/2009 5:54:28 AM PST by bitterohiogunclinger (America held hostage - day 118)
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To: bitterohiogunclinger
And, if these are the 5 asshats that did indeed torture and then murder, the death penalty should be swiftly applied.

Which is why a fair trial, makes sense. Why risk the case with a biased jury?

I'll suggest the same to you as I did for Man50.

Try posting racially inflammatory comments here at FR and see if the mods try to censure you.

23 posted on 03/01/2009 5:58:08 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen
“Try posting racially inflammatory comments here at FR and see if the mods try to censure you.”
I'm not into “racially inflammatory”, I'm into real equality.
I could care less about the race of the victims or the “alleged” perpetrators. It's the heinousness of the crime that makes special circumstances apply to the penalty phase. Kidnapping, torture, rape and murder deserve the death penalty.
I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy in society of allowing charges of “racism” to mitigate guilt. As for “tainting” the jury pool, If it is a particularly high profile case, or one that has been well publicized in the media to begin with, I'd disqualify any juror that claimed to not have heard, read, or watched anything about the case. They are either liars, or too stupid to be engaged in a trial.
24 posted on 03/01/2009 6:33:05 AM PST by bitterohiogunclinger (America held hostage - day 118)
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To: bitterohiogunclinger

My point is that censorship happens ALL THE TIME, be it for racial reasons or profanity or inciting hate etc.


25 posted on 03/01/2009 6:40:36 AM PST by Netizen
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To: polymuser
If the cities ignite, will Obama’s 9/08 “get in their face” command mean anything?

Yes, it will mean piles of very rude and throughly dead obamastanians littering the city streets. Many will no't take kindly to having someone or someTHING "get in their face".
26 posted on 03/01/2009 6:46:37 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always engaged. Failure to recognize this may lead to misunderstandings.)
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To: Netizen

I have mixed feelings about this
people need to tried by the courts not the press


27 posted on 03/01/2009 6:54:30 AM PST by Charlespg
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To: 2harddrive
There is no Constitutional right for the accused to have STUPID, IGNORANT jurors!

This is true, but from the courts viewpoint, an educated and informed jury limits the power of a court to arbitrarily impose its will without repercussions. This black robed fool's pronouncement against the 1st Amendment standing as a glaring example.

We have fallen under the rule of men, not the rule of law and justice is nowhere to be found.
28 posted on 03/01/2009 6:54:31 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always engaged. Failure to recognize this may lead to misunderstandings.)
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To: Charlespg

Here is another murder case

D.A. seeks names of posters

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2191848/posts


29 posted on 03/01/2009 7:00:17 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen

Censorship by the owner of a site, for his or her own reasons, is fine.

Censorship by the Government, for practically any reason, is not fine.


30 posted on 03/01/2009 7:02:50 AM PST by fork
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To: Netizen; Man50D

As I read Man50D’s comment, I saw him pointing out that SUBJECTIVE definitions of “irresponsible” and “racist” guarantee that any such government law or ruling as called for by this judge will become de facto political censorship.

The fact that FR maintains for itself (voluntarily) an appropriate high standard in this area is immaterial to his comment.


31 posted on 03/01/2009 7:04:03 AM PST by MortMan (Power without responsibility-the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages. - Rudyard Kipling)
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To: fork
Censorship by the owner of a site, for his or her own reasons, is fine. Censorship by the Government, for practically any reason, is not fine.

So, its ok for private citizens to deprive others of their amendment rights?

Whether the government tells you it is wrong or a site owner like here at FR, not because they were told, but because they knew it wasn't right, to post such things, the bottom line is the same. With free speech comes responsibility.

32 posted on 03/01/2009 7:16:49 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Man50D

So is the judge asking for a cut?


33 posted on 03/01/2009 7:41:48 AM PST by Oldpuppymax (AGENDA OF THE LEFT EXPOSED)
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To: Netizen
So, its ok for private citizens to deprive others of their amendment rights?

A private citizen cannot deprive anyone of their free speech rights. They have no force of law to prevent anyone from speaking their mind. They do have their own rights of private property with which they can limit what is said on their property. Which is entirely different than a governmental edict which can order the silencing of particular speech in an entire medium of communication. If Free Republic or DU choose to restrict what can be said by someone on their own site that person can go to one of millions of other websites or create their own.

As far as the issue of jury contamination goes the judge can sequester the jury or order that they may not view the internet or television or whatever. That is within the judge's purview. Silencing speech that he doesn't want the jury to hear is not. It certainly makes more sense to put restrictions on twelve jurors than on the six billion other people on the planet.

34 posted on 03/01/2009 7:52:25 AM PST by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: TigersEye
Silencing speech that he doesn't want the jury to hear is not.

Sigh. That's the whole point, their jury poll has ALREADY been contaminated!

35 posted on 03/01/2009 7:54:20 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen
Sigh.

Yes, I could already see that your views were emotionally based.

36 posted on 03/01/2009 8:02:34 AM PST by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: Man50D

My first reaction to this is that the judge (through his years of experience) knows that the public are going to be very angry at the outcome of this trial. He’s just trying to avoid any bad publicity himself for his own conduct.

I myself suspect that the so called ‘perpetrators’ will be found guilty of a few of the charges and will be sentenced to entire weekends in the county jail for the next 3 years.


37 posted on 03/01/2009 8:06:30 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (If Liberals would pay their taxes, there would be no deficit..)
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To: TigersEye

Personal attacks mean you have run out of facts. Have a good day! :)


38 posted on 03/01/2009 8:06:43 AM PST by Netizen
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To: Netizen

These demonic creatures committed these horrors over 2 years ago. They should be crispy fried chittlins already.

If the judge were truly concerned that angry internet posters, who rightfully curse these demons,could effect the right of the defendents to a fair and speedy trial, then he could close the proceedings.

But no, he would rather waste more time, delaying the process yet longer, extending the pain and suffering of the victims’ relatives and friends.

Yo Judge, out here we have free speech. You can limit free speech in your courtroom. But don’t even try to extend your power to control matters outside of your courtroom.


39 posted on 03/01/2009 9:09:32 AM PST by takenoprisoner
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To: Netizen

That was no more a personal attack than restricting speech on a private website is censorship.


40 posted on 03/01/2009 1:02:00 PM PST by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: Man50D
Be very leery of any man who demands to be addressed as "Your Honor". That required addressing in court should be removed from every court room in the United States. Who is serving who? Honor left the Tennessee Court Rooms decades ago.

Most Tennessee county court houses have judges who came from the one or two prevailing law firms in the county seat. As such they remain on bench as judge till they are too senile to find their way back to the court house anymore. Don't look for truth there because they don't want to hear it or will have a more pressing public event to attend elsewhere. Telling truth in a Tennessee Court can find you in contempt faster than you can spit. The High Dollar Shyster Lawyers whom most Judges worship make a moockery of justice and truth as well.

Tennessee Courts and Lawyers are also known for fiasco's they let go on for years like Zoo Man. Judge and Lawyers media grandstanding for years on end and justice never served. I pray never again have to see any court room in my state again for any reason.

41 posted on 03/01/2009 5:45:33 PM PST by cva66snipe ($.01 The current difference between the DEM's and GOP as well as their combined worth to this nation)
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To: Dr.Zoidberg

I agree. We are now under the rule of men, not law. So much for the Republic!


42 posted on 03/01/2009 7:20:25 PM PST by 2harddrive (...House a TOTAL Loss.....)
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To: Netizen
Tell you what. Try posting racially inflammatory comments here at FR and see if the mods try to censure you.

The owner of a website may set and enforce whatever conditions for its content that he or she chooses. That's different from having the government set those conditions for everyone.

It's like if someone's visiting your house and they start bad-mouthing your wife. They may have a first-amendment right to free speech, but they don't have a first-amendment right to your living room. You can toss them out and they can do their bad-mouthing on the sidewalk... in fashion, free-speech rights and private-property rights are both preserved.

To my mind, the argument that discussion of a court case should be suppressed because it might possibly taint a jury is far too tenuous and theoretical a hook on which to hang the supression of an enumerated constitutional right. If it were a valid argument, it might have been made long before there was an internet to muddy the water. The publicity of court cases has been a factor since the invention of the newspaper.

43 posted on 03/02/2009 4:12:13 PM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Netizen

You seem to not understand the very fundamental difference between government-imposed censorship, and censorship by a private owner regarding how his soap box is used.

The First Amendment speaks to one case, and not the other. Bringing up the latter in a conversation about the former is unhelpful to your argument, at best.


44 posted on 08/17/2009 9:29:03 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (No Representation without Taxation!)
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