Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Blogger’s Incarceration Raises First Amendment Questions (nytimes.com)
52 points by ojbyrne 1258 days ago | hide | past | web | 23 comments | favorite

I obviously think this guy has a right to publish on his blog. But the story paints him as a kook who shot himself in the foot.

Even if you are 100% right, you don't represent yourself in court, and you certainly don't insult the judge or court. This is the quickest way to lose your case. If he's lucky, his courtroom trolling may have provoked the judge into overstepping the law and it'll be tossed out.

I agree, however it's important to emphasize that neither self-representation nor insulting the judge are crimes (outside of the disturbingly gray area of contempt).

Even among Mr Shuler's defenders there is widespread recognition that he has potentially crossed the line into defamation on more than one occasion. That's not the problem. The problem is what appears to be a lack of due process so far. Quoting the article and the illustrious Ken White:

"But Mr. White and others say that before a judge can take the step of banning speech, libel must be proved at trial, or at least over a litigation process more involved than a quick succession of hearings, with the only evidence presented by the plaintiffs."

His case is not over. It still exists as an appeal and public opinion. Why make deals with a corrupt i.e. invalid government official if you are fighting corrupt invalid government officials?

The Ken White mentioned in the article is the Ken White behind Popehat, articles from which have frequently shown up on the HN front page (particularly during the Prenda Law saga).

Indeed here are his posts on this case: http://www.popehat.com/tag/roger-shuler/

>There, in the company of jailed reporters in China, Iran and Egypt, is Mr. Shuler, the only person on the list in the Western Hemisphere.

Their list is out of date then.


Whoever is defending this needs to talk about the "act of journalism", and say how in the digital age everyone can commit "acts of journalism" without having a "journalist job" or belonging to a "journalism association", which in the digital age/21st century are starting to become obsolete notions.

But even without this sort of defense, he should still have the right to free speech that everyone in US gets.

Oh, this guy is an asshole, and what he writes definitely falls into a defamation and slander. The First amendment doesn't protect this kind of speech.

The problem isn't that he's being punished by the courts, it's that he's seeing indefinite jail time just for opening his mouth. There is a crime here, but the punishment doesn't fit it.

Err, I don't think defamation or slander are criminal

They are not criminal, but it's possible to get a court order that says "cut it out", and failing to comply with that does lead to penalties such as being held in contempt.

If they believe that the order is flawed, the correct way to go forward is to still comply, then raise the case in a higher court. Not complying only means that the judge can hold him in jail for the rest of his life if he chooses to, without any impropriety.

Agreed, I'm pretty sure those fall under civil court?

Criminal contempt of court can take place during a civil or criminal trial.

He refuses to meet with a lawyer. He's been representing himself...

Or insanity questions.

The insane have no right to free speech?

I think he might be referring to his treatment in court.

If they have 1st Amendment rights, do they also have 2nd Amendment rights?

Neither the 1st nor the 2nd Amendment confer absolute rights. Hence, convicted felons (typically) can't own firearms, and "incitement to violence" isn't considered "speech".

The first amendment confers no rights; it restricts congress. The second amendment confers absolute rights; the restrictions on, say, youths and felons are blatantly unconstitutional.

> The second amendment confers absolute rights; the restrictions on, say, youths and felons are blatantly unconstitutional.

Both the Supreme Court and the NRA disagree with you. I think you need to recheck your research.

Youths have basically no rights as far as the constitution is concerned.


That was helpful, thank you.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact