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:
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.
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. . . .
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
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.
The World Is Upside-Down
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.
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.
The Brett Kimerlin Nightmare Continues
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.
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?
I can’t believe this is happening in America.
More updates as time permits