June 02, 2003

PRIOR RESTRAINT IN FLORIDA: Another jackbooted judge, it would appear, who either doesn't understand that the First Amendment applies to the Internet, or who just doesn't care:

The order, entered by Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach, forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. It has alarmed experts in First Amendment law, who say that such orders prohibiting future publication, prior restraints, are essentially unknown in American law. Moreover, they say, claims like Ms. Johnson's, for invasion of privacy, have almost never been considered enough to justify prior restraints. . . .

Judge Lewis ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont."

The page has been taken down, but I believe that this is the Google cached version. Judge Lewis appears to have been recently elected, though anyone admitted to the bar should, in my opinion, know better.

UPDATE: What's funny is a just-repealed Florida law actually required women to publish their sexual histories. Hmm. What's not required is forbidden? That seems to be the mindset, here.