The law is only as good as the judge you have Aaron Worthing in custody

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The law is only as good as the judge you have Aaron Worthing in custody

There is an old say­ing that the lawyer who rep­re­sents him­self has a fool for a client.

Aaron Wor­thing is a Yale trained Lawyer but appar­ently he didn’t remem­ber this rule dur­ing the hear­ing today:

And Walker pissed him off. So did Kim­ber­lin, but Walker iden­ti­fied him­self as a Yale-​trained lawyer, albeit one who was rep­re­sent­ing him­self. Kim­ber­lin made any num­ber of alle­ga­tions – essen­tially, every­thing that was said about his side – issu­ing death threats, harm­ing busi­ness inter­ests, sum­mon­ing SWAT teams to the home – was said by Kim­ber­lin to have been done by Walker’s side.

The pair went back and forth, back and forth, with Walker get­ting increas­ingly flus­tered, and the Judge finally ask­ing, “what did they tell you in Yale Law School about inter­rupt­ing a judge?” And later advis­ing Walker to sit down, grip a pen­cil, and when­ever he was tempted to speak over the Judge (or Kim­ber­lin, but mostly over the Judge), to instead grip the pencil.

At one point, when Walker again inter­rupted Kim­ber­lin, an attor­ney who was “advis­ing” Walker – i.e.,. sit­ting in the court­room, but not actu­ally at Walker’s table, sig­naled to the plain­tiff that he ought to “zip it.”

and the Judge in the case seems to have no under­stand­ing of what the inter­net is:

Judge Vaughan had read up on the mat­ter, knew Kimberlin’s his­tory of felony con­vic­tions, but clearly was tech­ni­cally igno­rant of even basic facts about what Twit­ter is, in one instance point say­ing “He Googled you 500,000 times” through the Tubes or what­ever. The Judge had iden­ti­fied him­self, ear­lier, as being “of the Royal Type­writer Gen­er­a­tion,” and at another point, when con­fronted with the volu­mi­nous mate­r­ial from both sides, asked “don’t peo­ple have jobs, who reads this stuff?”

I must admit there are times when I ask the “don’t peo­ple have jobs” line too.

Igno­rance by the judge and bad legal moves by Walker aside the bot­tom line: Con­victed bomber Brett Kim­ber­lin has man­aged to get a con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger jailed for exer­cis­ing his first Amend­ment rights.

Reac­tion has been dramatic:

Stacy McCain: (Still in hid­ing)

That Kim­ber­lin is the plain­tiff in such an action — claim­ing that a law-​abiding attor­ney is some­how threat­en­ing the safety of a con­victed vio­lent felon — is deeply ironic. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors once hoped that Kim­ber­lin would never again be able to “ter­ror­ize any other cit­i­zen,” yet he is now ter­ror­iz­ing them just as surely as he ever did dur­ing his infa­mous days as the Speed­way Bomber.

Glenn Reynolds:

If I read this cor­rectly, Aaron Walker is in trou­ble because Kim­ber­lin claims that his blog­ging has some­how led to other peo­ple mak­ing death threats. That doesn’t seem to pass the First Amend­ment smell test. Only if Walker were incit­ing those threats in a way that passed Bran­den­burg scrutiny would that work, and I don’t believe that’s the case at all. At any rate, under this approach George Zim­mer­man ought to be able to jail any num­ber of journalists.…

Pam Geller:

Free­dom of speech is not under attack, it’s on life sup­port, if that. Last week I blogged about ter­ror­ist Brett Kim­ber­lin threat­en­ing blog­gers here. This vio­lent con­victed ter­ror­ist Bomber is now a left­ist dar­ling and has been given mil­lions by progressives.

Any num­ber of Islamists are tak­ing notes

Lee Strana­han:

As far as I can tell, Aaron Walker was arrested for writing.

I have seen no claim that Walker him­self made any threats against Brett Kim­ber­lin. Or that he con­tacted Brett Kim­ber­lin. Walker was arrested because he wrote facts and opin­ions about Brett Kim­ber­lin and other peo­ple sup­pos­edly made threats.

Gate­way Pundit

The World Is Upside-​Down


An Ex Con’s view

This appears to be a vio­la­tion of the find­ing of the Supreme Court that finds blog­gers are extended the same rights as other media and have the same protections.

Eugene Volokh

This seem like a find­ing that is both hard to under­stand and — from what I’ve heard about the story — hard to sup­port, if it means that Walker had threat­ened Kim­ber­lin with death. [UPDATE: Hans Bader (Open Mar­ket), who crit­i­cizes the injunc­tion, sug­gests that it means that Walker’s posts didn’t them­selves con­tain unpro­tected threats, but prompted some read­ers to threaten Kim­ber­lin; but that can’t be a basis for the court’s enjoin­ing or oth­er­wise act­ing against Walker, at least unless there is evi­dence that Walker inten­tion­ally solicited such threats, or inten­tion­ally incited likely immi­nent threats, and I haven’t heard of such evi­dence.] Based on this find­ing, the order bars Walker from injur­ing or threat­en­ing Kim­ber­lin (which would be ille­gal in any event), con­tact­ing or try­ing to con­tact Kim­ber­lin, “harass[ing]” Kim­ber­lin, and enter­ing and per­haps approach­ing very near to Kimberlin’s res­i­dence and place of employ­ment. The order may well be fac­tu­ally unfounded, but if it were fac­tu­ally well-​founded, and if “harass” were lim­ited to tele­phone calls, e-​mails, and the like to Kim­ber­lin per­son­ally, then it would likely be con­sti­tu­tion­ally per­mis­si­ble. (See gen­er­ally Rowan v. United States Post Office Depart­ment (1970) and lower courts cases that have mostly upheld stop-​talking-​to-​me orders.)

On the other hand, if the order were inter­preted as ban­ning Walker’s fur­ther speech about Kim­ber­lin — other than con­sti­tu­tion­ally unpro­tected “true threats” of vio­lence — then it would be unconstitutional.

Michelle Malkin:

The Brett Kimer­lin Night­mare Continues


Twitchy

This is absolutely out­ra­geous. In a pos­i­tively Kafka-​esque turn of events, a Mary­land judge has ordered that Walker be taken into police cus­tody while ser­ial harasser, ter­ror­ist, and killer Kim­ber­lin remains free.


Nice Deb:

Did Kim­ber­lin pro­duce evi­dence that Wor­thing was coor­di­nat­ing death threats and harass­ment? Note to the judge – a blog­burst is not a death threat or harass­ment. All Aaron Wor­thing and oth­ers have been doing is exer­cis­ing their right to free speech. How can a judge in Mary­land take away that right?

The Lonely Con­ser­v­a­tive echoes me

I can’t believe this is hap­pen­ing in America.

More updates as time permits

There is an old saying that the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Aaron Worthing is a Yale trained Lawyer but apparently he didn’t remember this rule during the hearing today:

And Walker pissed him off. So did Kimberlin, but Walker identified himself as a Yale-trained lawyer, albeit one who was representing himself. Kimberlin made any number of allegations–essentially, everything that was said about his side–issuing death threats, harming business interests, summoning SWAT teams to the home–was said by Kimberlin to have been done by Walker’s side.

The pair went back and forth, back and forth, with Walker getting increasingly flustered, and the Judge finally asking, “what did they tell you in Yale Law School about interrupting a judge?” And later advising Walker to sit down, grip a pencil, and whenever he was tempted to speak over the Judge (or Kimberlin, but mostly over the Judge), to instead grip the pencil.

At one point, when Walker again interrupted Kimberlin, an attorney who was “advising” Walker–i.e.,. sitting in the courtroom, but not actually at Walker’s table, signaled to the plaintiff that he ought to “zip it.”

and the Judge in the case seems to have no understanding of what the internet is:

Judge Vaughan had read up on the matter, knew Kimberlin’s history of felony convictions, but clearly was technically ignorant of even basic facts about what Twitter is, in one instance point saying “He Googled you 500,000 times” through the Tubes or whatever. The Judge had identified himself, earlier, as being “of the Royal Typewriter Generation,” and at another point, when confronted with the voluminous material from both sides, asked “don’t people have jobs, who reads this stuff?”

I must admit there are times when I ask the “don’t people have jobs” line too.

Ignorance by the judge and bad legal moves by Walker aside the bottom line: Convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin has managed to get a conservative blogger jailed for exercising his first Amendment rights.

Reaction has been dramatic:

Stacy McCain: (Still in hiding)

That Kimberlin is the plaintiff in such an action — claiming that a law-abiding attorney is somehow threatening the safety of a convicted violent felon — is deeply ironic. Federal prosecutors once hoped that Kimberlin would never again be able to “terrorize any other citizen,” yet he is now terrorizing them just as surely as he ever did during his infamous days as the Speedway Bomber.

Glenn Reynolds:

If I read this correctly, Aaron Walker is in trouble because Kimberlin claims that his blogging has somehow led to other people making death threats. That doesn’t seem to pass the First Amendment smell test. Only if Walker were inciting those threats in a way that passed Brandenburg scrutiny would that work, and I don’t believe that’s the case at all. At any rate, under this approach George Zimmerman ought to be able to jail any number of journalists. . . .

Pam Geller:

Freedom of speech is not under attack, it’s on life support, if that. Last week I blogged about terrorist Brett Kimberlin threatening bloggers here. This violent convicted terrorist Bomber is now a leftist darling and has been given millions by progressives.

Any number of Islamists are taking notes

Lee Stranahan:

As far as I can tell, Aaron Walker was arrested for writing.

I have seen no claim that Walker himself made any threats against Brett Kimberlin. Or that he contacted Brett Kimberlin. Walker was arrested because he wrote facts and opinions about Brett Kimberlin and other people supposedly made threats.

Gateway Pundit

The World Is Upside-Down


An Ex Con’s view

This appears to be a violation of the finding of the Supreme Court that finds bloggers are extended the same rights as other media and have the same protections.

Eugene Volokh

This seem like a finding that is both hard to understand and — from what I’ve heard about the story — hard to support, if it means that Walker had threatened Kimberlin with death. [UPDATE: Hans Bader (Open Market), who criticizes the injunction, suggests that it means that Walker’s posts didn’t themselves contain unprotected threats, but prompted some readers to threaten Kimberlin; but that can’t be a basis for the court’s enjoining or otherwise acting against Walker, at least unless there is evidence that Walker intentionally solicited such threats, or intentionally incited likely imminent threats, and I haven’t heard of such evidence.] Based on this finding, the order bars Walker from injuring or threatening Kimberlin (which would be illegal in any event), contacting or trying to contact Kimberlin, “harass[ing]” Kimberlin, and entering and perhaps approaching very near to Kimberlin’s residence and place of employment. The order may well be factually unfounded, but if it were factually well-founded, and if “harass” were limited to telephone calls, e-mails, and the like to Kimberlin personally, then it would likely be constitutionally permissible. (See generally Rowan v. United States Post Office Department (1970) and lower courts cases that have mostly upheld stop-talking-to-me orders.)

On the other hand, if the order were interpreted as banning Walker’s further speech about Kimberlin — other than constitutionally unprotected “true threats” of violence — then it would be unconstitutional.

Michelle Malkin:

The Brett Kimerlin Nightmare Continues


Twitchy

This is absolutely outrageous. In a positively Kafka-esque turn of events, a Maryland judge has ordered that Walker be taken into police custody while serial harasser, terrorist, and killer Kimberlin remains free.


Nice Deb:

Did Kimberlin produce evidence that Worthing was coordinating death threats and harassment? Note to the judge – a blogburst is not a death threat or harassment. All Aaron Worthing and others have been doing is exercising their right to free speech. How can a judge in Maryland take away that right?

The Lonely Conservative echoes me

I can’t believe this is happening in America.

More updates as time permits