Court Documents on Internet – 1st Amendment Upheld!
This article is part of our Pro Se Litigant series, case: Torres v. Torres – The soft approach: Wrong!
On April 30, 2011, in Barnstable Superior Court, Judge Christopher J. Muse heard a difficult issue. A motion was brought before the court that sought to have both public court records and news stories removed from the Internet. Judge Muse upheld the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and an earlier Court decision, which allows public Court pleadings to be made available on the Internet, and denied the Defendant’s motion with prejudice.
During the lengthy hearing, Judge Muse asked the Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III more than once, in summary part, why he wanted to muddy the waters of a case that had clear arguments on both sides. Mr. Torres stated in summary part that the impact on his and his co-plaintiff’s livelihood, virtually leaving them homeless, left him no choice in his opinion, which was to get his case into public view. Hence, the Internet postings.
Mr. Torres, upon reflection, never argued what he feels were, and are, the much more important issues: protecting our ever-eroding rights and the loss of our Constitutional protections. At the same time, Mr. Torres felt that fair points were made, that caution should be used when posting pleadings on the Internet. Mr. Torres strongly believes that the law should be used as a shield and not a sword but was clear that the posting of the pleadings on the Internet were the direct result of actions taken against the Plaintiffs by the Defendants.
Mr. Torres however, has asked the Defendants to point out any items which they felt should be private, or which caused them undue harm, and if reasonable, he would remove those items from the Internet.
The entire series on these matters are available here:
- “Good Old Boy Political Network” alive and well on Cape Cod?
- 1st Amendment Challenge on Falmouth Police Cronyism Article
- Falmouth Police Cronyism Case: A.C.L.U. Contacted
Reprinted with permission from www.newatchdogs.com
Update: Judge Muse ultimately ruled against the Plaintiffs and dismissed their complaint. His decision was overturned on Appeal. This raised the question, was the posting of documents on the Internet allowed at the cost of a dismissed complaint?