Pennsylvania Attorney General Issues Subpeana against Critics

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by barkomatic, May 20, 2010.

  1. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #1
    Pfft! Who cares about the Constitution when you are able to use your position as the Attorney General to legally attack your critics.

    Tom Corbett, a Republican candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania and the current attorney general, has issued a grand jury subpeona to Twitter to get them to reveal the identity of a critic that uses that service to voice his or her opinions. This is the type of outragous abuse of power you would expect from a dictator.

    It's scary that someone who clearly has no respect for the Constitutional right of free speech could be the Governor of Pennsylvania.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/05/twitter-subpoena/
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #2
    Oh my god! And Republicans claim to want government out of people's lives? We've always known that's crap, but this really proves it. This guy should be charged with violating peoples' right to free speech.
     
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #3
    Agreed. This is an egregious over-step by Corbett.
     
  4. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #4
    Agreed, but he clearly believes he is untouchable--we'll see. Nevertheless, an abuse this bad should influence the elections.
     
  5. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #5
    Republicans: "less government regulation"...unless we find your speech/musical lyrics/sexual orientation/mode of dress/foreign heritage not to our liking.
     
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #6
    If he thought he was being criticized before just wait, this is like when the kid goes and tells his mom the other kids are making fun of him.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    How can this kind of thing even happen? Shouldn't the court have denied him the subpoena?
     
  8. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #8
    Subpoenas can be funky things. For example, if you have a civil case going to trial on Monday and you want to subpoena a person or documents on the Friday before trial, you need only (at least here in Alabama) draft the subpoena, put it in front of a minimum-wager in the clerk's office, get it stamped, pay the fee and then serve it (simply hand it) to the person/entity being subpoenaed. Of course, if they choose to, they can fight it on the back end and they may be successful, but it is otherwise a "lawful" subpoena until a court "quashes" it, regardless of its content.

    To the topic at hand, I don't know what the process is for such a subpoena to issue, but I mention the above scenario as an example of how subpoenas can be a lot easier to get than you may have thought. My gut tells me you'll see the subpoena at issue get quashed soon.
     
  9. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #9
    I have to agree that this thing will be done away with, as it should. You can't really blame twitter and at least they give their users time to respond to the subpoena. What I am wondering is if these people get their lawyer fees paid by fighting this unconstitutional subpoena? Would they have to sue for that?
     
  10. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #10
    How? When there is a person in a very high position--in this case the top law enforcement official in the state--who has an enormous amount of influence and friends in the courts. Perhaps he's owed some favors. . .

    The question is how the public will react to this action. Frankly, I'm a little worried as people seem to be more and more tolerant on restrictions on free speech.
     
  11. barkomatic thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #11
    That's very good to know and explains a lot. Thanks!
     
  12. obeygiant macrumors 68040

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    I'd like to see what the tweets were. If anything was slanderous he might have a case, otherwise he's SOL.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #13
    Agreed, however, I didn't see anything in the article linked that suggested that the tweets were slanderous or libelous.
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #14
    Sounds like PA needs Patrick Fitzgerald as much as we do in Illinois.

    He also has to obey the law.
     
  15. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #15
    Yup, and I doubt it's slanderous. People usually only get agitated at the truth.
     
  16. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #16
    it be hilarious if they found out it was his wife
     
  17. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #17
    [nitpick]It would be libel, not slander[/nitpick]

    Libel is tough to prove. It's even tougher to prove if you're a public figure such as a politician, because you have to prove that the defendant acted with actual malice and intent to harm. Tom Jong Il likely wouldn't have a case if he tried to sue for libel.
     
  18. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #18
    [nitpick]And since he's a public figure, the standard is different[/nitpick] [I'm stupid]Oh crap, I just read the rest of your post. [/I'm stupid]
     
  19. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #19
    True, although Tom Cruise did win his lawsuit with magazine Actustar.
     
  20. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #20
    Defamation is a lot different than criticism.
     
  21. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

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    #21
    Lately, news stories have been making me nauseous.

    If you are a political figure and cannot take criticism, you seriously should not be a political figure.

    Get used to your freedoms now people, because I don't think we are going to be enjoying many of them much longer.

    By the way, don't think this is a conservative/liberal type discussion; this is a ****** not ****** type situation.
     
  22. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #22
    No one said they were the same. However I'm guessing someone "criticizing" under the cloak of anonymity would say a little more than those who are brave enough to show their faces. Like we said before, unless there is something libelous within the tweets there really is no recourse.
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #23
    Thanks for the subpoena explanation, kavika411!

    I took a quick look at the CasablancaPA account in question... I didn't read every tweet, but I didn't see anything that would be considered defamation, libel, or slander.

    I think the issue of whether people have a "right" to digital anonymity (as opposed to freedom of speech) is a relevant one, perhaps even outside the domain of defamation, etc. At some level I could concede, for instance, that the public have a right to know, say, if it were to turn out that this Twitter blog was run by a paid apparatchik of Corbett's opponent.

    However, I rather suspect that Corbett will get crucified in the media for this, and I shan't say he doesn't deserve it.
     
  24. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #24
    That is a very interesting thought. It could be possible.
     
  25. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #25
    The 'net is largely a self-leveling medium in the outrageous claims tend to peter out if they lack substance (though not always - at least we have Snopes). When someone criticizes the king, the king will send his knights to subdue the seditious bastard, so the "anonymity" of the internet, along with its natural balancing, can be very valuable for safely exposing that which needs to see the light of day. IMAhO.
     

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