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R.I. child custody case spawns free-speech issue

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posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:26 PM
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R.I. child custody case spawns free-speech issue


www.projo.com

Michelle Bouthillier Langlois, 41, has opinions about her brother Michael Bouthillier’s child custody case with his ex-wife. And lately, she’d taken to sharing her thoughts via status updates on Facebook.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:26 PM
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This is going to be an interesting case.


In June, Judge Michael Forte agreed with Martin, issuing a court order restraining Langlois from posting details about Martin’s children, and the pending Family Court case, on the Internet. The order also keeps Langlois from “contacting, assaulting, molesting, or otherwise interfering with [Martin and her two children] at home, on the street or elsewhere.”

That’s a clear violation of Langlois’ First Amendment rights, said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.


Personally, I agree. This woman's First Amendment rights have clearly been violated. She has the right to post her thoughts and opinions on a public court case anywhere she pleases and this judge has overstepped his bounds and the Constitution by ordering her not to.


TA



www.projo.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 

Here's the problem. How do you know that the judge or anyone who has contact with this case will either accidentally or intentionally search for his name on the net and read info that may be inflammatory at best or wrong at worst? Freedom of speech clearly is limited to speech that does not intentionally harm another person and she may very well be crossing that line.



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:45 PM
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I'll be watching the outcome of this most definitely.

I have Shared Custody of my child, and one of the most powerful allies and tools I have is my Facebook and MySpace Blog. I have a meager readership of 50,000 people, but that is more than enough to deter my Ex when she gets out of hand. When my daughter comes back from her mother's with inexplicable bruises and the Police, Child Protective Services, and the Courts all turn a blind eye, I post it on my Blogs. Immediately, she stops hurting my daughter. Every time she tries to pull a fast one on me at the suggestion of her lawyer, I post about it on my Blog and she backs off. Apparently the threat of airing her dirty laundry to 50,000 people to read is enough to keep her in check.

I've discussed it many times with my own lawyer and with the Police and they've all agreed that so long as I don't mention her by name in my Blog I am not committing any crime, or putting myself in a position where I would be liable in a civil suit.

Sometimes the system that is there to protect children fails them and you have to resort to whatever means you have to do so legally. To remove that backs concerned parents and family into a corner where their only remediation on behalf of the children would be to resort to illegal means, which is a situation where no one wins.

The argument of "contacting, assaulting, molesting, or otherwise interfering with [Martin and her two children] at home, on the street or elsewhere" to include Online would and should only pertain if she were to go to their online Blogs and Profiles and posted there. Posting on your own Status or Blog is not assaulting, molesting or otherwise interfering with anyone. Reading a person's Blog is a voluntary, not compulsory, activity. The reader who browses to their Profile to view their Status or Blog is initiating contact and choosing to take liability for their own actions. Ever heard of viewer discretion advised?

I hope the EFF takes up this case on her behalf (glad to know that the ACLU is already all over it). This cannot be allowed to stand and become a Court Precedent. If there any Family Court Judges reading this, it might be prudent to file an Amicus with the Kent County Circuit Court.



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:53 PM
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reply to post by secretagent woooman
 

If she posts something libelous, she should be held accountable for that but she should not be barred from posting accurate information on the case. It's a public case and what she is doing is no different than what your average reporter does.


TA



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 05:59 PM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 




This cannot be allowed to stand and become a Court Precedent.


My thoughts exactly. This is a very dangerous precedent to set, and the implications if this ruling is upheld are immensely corrosive to our First Amendment rights.


TA



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 06:57 PM
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Totally agree with you guys. If this becomes "ok," it will blur the lines between what people can or cannot say on the internet, and then the cyberbully bill will pass, and then a lot of my favorite websites are outta here.



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by mooseinhisglory
 


Precisely. I tend to avoid the 'slippery slope' argument but I believe it's a valid issue in this situation. This just leaves way too much room open for the thin-skinned political-correctness-nazis to go around policing the internet.


TA



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:14 PM
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The problem is, with the advent of social media places like Facebook and Myspace, it becomes the issue of potential Jury tampering or Jury tainting... which was mentioned but not described all that well with a previous post.

Yes, she has her first amendment rights, but the mother has the right to a fair trial as well (As if that ever actually happens nowadays).

It is a very murky subject in the case of laws and trials. Of course, if she is posting libelous material, she can be brought up on charges...



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by TheColdDragon
 

I can see that point, and I agree that everyone deserves a right to a fair trial. However, it's the responsibility of the court system to ensure that juries are unbiased and able to make a fair assessment of the case before they are selected and for the duration of the trial. This should be handled by jury interviews, sequestering, etc. Not by restricting someone's First Amendment right to comment on the case.


TA



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:03 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 


Actually, humorously enough, it is not the responsibility of the Court to weed out people who are not biased... but this is little known with the way the Courts run nowadays.

When it states, "Each person has a right to a fair trial by a jury of their peers," It does not, in fact, mean a group of people from the same area; It literally means a jury of a persons peers. A group of people that know the defendant well.

The original intent of a Jury by Peers was that if you could get a conviction from a Jury of Peers (People whom you have to convince beyond a shadow of a doubt as to the guilt of someone they know well), that the conviction is just and fair.

However, as things have changed over time, it has become more about weeding out anyone who might feel too strongly one way or another. This has become the NORM, but was never the original intent of a Jury by Peers.

For further information, please read up on Jury Nullification, here is a few edifying links...
The Juror's Handbook



posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:10 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 


Unless she was posting Libel against the man (and the kids) I would agree, her first amendment right were violated. If in fact she was posting Libel (or 'molesting' as the judge says ....) then I would say the Judge has every right to issue a court order against her.



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:47 AM
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[edit on 5-9-2010 by alien]



posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 09:00 AM
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I am the older brother and the judge over stepped his bounds he had no right to order this and lost before it was even brought to court. This judge and the RI system is out of control. This is the same judge that orders this father to go see his ex-wife's doc.
RI courts are set-up to help the one with the most money and this is the case that shows it.



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