Tag Archives: protection

Free speech for bloggers as journalists reaffirmed

This should have been obvious already from the Open Government Act of 2007, among other laws, but now a court has reaffirmed it.

Dan Levine wrote for Reuters 17 January 2014, Blogger gets same speech protections as traditional press: U.S. court,

A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist.

But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter.

“As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable,” 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

Here’s the actual ruling: Obsidian Finance Group, LLC; Kevin D. Padrick v. Crystal Cox, United States Cour tof Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 17 January 2014, Continue reading

GA Dept. Ag. can’t enforce, but Lowndes County can

One reason LAKE permits anonymous posts is that occasionally some useful information like this comes in that way; received yesterday on Graphic horse case. -jsq
Ga. Ag Equine Division is authorized to impound animals if animal cruelty is suspected.

However, if you take the time to read the state law (Ga. Code Section), you’ll see that local animal control and law enforcement are also authorized to impound horses/equine.

Counties need to understand that Ag is REGULATORY – they are NOT a criminal office. They cannot legally conduct a criminal investigation, nor file criminal charges. Criminal investigations, and charges, have to be handled by local law enforcement.

The below excerpt is from “The Ga. Animal Protection Act” – which is – a state law. .

4-11-9.2. Inspection warrant; impounding of animals

(a) At any time there is probable cause to believe that a violation of this article or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article has occurred, the Commissioner, his or her designated agent, or an animal control officer who is an employee of state or local government may apply to the appropriate court in the county in which the animal is located for an inspection warrant under the provisions of Code Section 2-2-11.

(b) Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other peace officer shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this article and Code Sections 16-12-4 and 16-12-37.

Continue reading