Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Truth is the TRUTH. The Truth is not Republican or Democrat or any other part. The Truth has no color, no religion, no race, no side. It is Simply the Truth. The TRUTH is biased as it is the TRUTH. The TRUTH is not about presenting both sides. It is Either the actual TRUTH or it is NOT. The Truth is NOT about calling both sides of a story to see what they say. The TRUTH and True Journalism is about digging through documents, about find the TRUE facts and not asking the people involved. The TRUTH has no side, it is Simply the TRUTH. ~ Investigative Blogger Crystal L. Cox

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Course Schedule

https://jmikelyons.com/spring2016courses/com-201-%E2%80%A2-communication-ethics/schedule-%E2%80%A2-com-201/

Business Law Course Schedule

http://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/Ng_280%20SP16.pdf

THE REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, Obsidian v. Cox Case Citing Page 14

THE REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS,  July 2016

MARK BOAL, et al.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et
al.,
Defendants.

Case No. 2:16-CV-05407-GHK-GJS
BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE
THE REPORTERS
COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM
OF THE PRESS AND 36
MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS IN
SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’
EX PARTE APPLICATION
[Notice of Motion and Motion and
[Proposed] filed Concurrently
Herewith]
Date: August 29, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Judge: Honorable George H. King

Click Below to Read Filing
https://pmcdeadline2.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/amici-curiae-brief.pdf


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Darren Chaker WINS FIRST AMENDMENT APPEAL; Free Speech Case; Leesa Fazal; Free Speech Rights; First Amendment Rights

"On the morning of July 7, 2016, the Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction based on First Amendment rights concerning Darren Chaker.

The 
Cato InstituteACLU of San DiegoElectronic Frontier FoundationFirst Amendment Coalition, and Brechner First Amendment Project at University of Florida filed a joint amicus brief in his support wanting the court to reverse a decision from a San Diego federal judge who found Mr. Chaker violated probation by posting a blog about Nevada Attorney General Investigator Leesa Fazal, of Las Vegas. A compelling opening brief was filed by Federal Defenders of San Diego Inc.

The amicus brief was authored by the Washington D.C. office of 
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, who is consistently ranked as an international top 20 law firm. See opinion, Darren-Chaker-Appeal, where the Ninth Circuit found absolutely no harassment or defamation took place.
Mr. Chaker was on probation for a white collar crime. The record shows Mr. Chaker’s bankruptcy attorney fraudulently filed a bankruptcy petition without Mr. Chaker’s knowledge. The report states in part, “In my opinion Chaker’s attorney did not exercise a reasonable standard of care in filing a Second Bankruptcy Case without Chaker’s consent and signature. Indeed, in my opinion such conduct is fraudulent.”  See expert report, page 7.  Despite the conduct of his bankruptcy attorney, Mr. Chaker was found guilty of only a single charge at trial. That conviction is being challenged.
While on probation, it was alleged Mr. Chaker made a false statement about Leesa Fazal of Las Vegas. “Specifically, Mr. Chaker wrote that Ms. Fazal, an investigator with the Nevada Office of the Attorney General, had previously been “forced out” of the Las Vegas Police Department.” says First Amendment law professor Clay Calvert at the University of Florida’s Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project.

The blog also addressed the fact Leesa Fazal, a Nevada peace officer, brought her firearm into a San Diego Superior Court while hoping to testify in a family law matter. Leesa Fazal was not allowed to testify, and appears was detained by Sheriff Deputies when told not to leave as she was walking to the exit. It was Mr. Chaker who informed court security she had a firearm on her.

See video https://youtu.be/v9rGkkh84rg [Link is a public record, U.S. District Court Nevada Case No. 2:16-cv-00036.] Scott McMillan, McMillan Law Firm La Mesa, exited the elevator with Ms. Fazal – he apparently may not have advised her she may be breaking the law when they entered court together (but am not sure if she was counseled).
Ms. Fazal complained to the FBI, the Nevada Attorney General, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and no one arrested or questioned Mr. Chaker.

The Las Vegas Metro Police report stated, in relevant part, “All the evidence was reviewed and does not rise to the level of criminal harassment.”
See,

Leesa Fazal gun stolen out of car
Ms. Fazal then turned to the probation officer who promptly filed a petition and Mr. Chaker was put in jail. The court “had reviewed a police report prepared by the Las Vegas police department after Ms. Fazal reported Mr. Chaker’s blogposts, and noted that the police ultimately did not forward any charges for prosecution concerning Fazal’s allegations.” Opening Brief, page 7.
Ms. Fazal communicated to the probation officer Mr. Chaker may have had something to do with her firearm being stolen out of her car. However, Ms. Fazal’s own Officer Safety Alert stated –  “The suspect is unknown” see excerpt,
Leesa Fazal unknown suspects
During the probation revocation hearing, “At no point did the probation officer or government contend that the blogposts constituted stalking under the condition, nor did the court make any findings as to stalking.  Instead, the focus was on whether the statement was harassment and defamation.” See Opening Brief, page 12.
As the ACLU of San Diego states, “even if the defamation condition is valid, the court did not require the government to prove that Mr. Chaker made a false statement of fact, subjectively believed his statement to be false, or acted with reckless disregard of its truth.” At the hearing, Mr. Chaker admitted he posted the blog after doing online research. It was never proven what Mr. Chaker posted was “a false statement of fact.” Although Ms. Fazal was flown to San Diego and in court, the government did not call her as a witness. The court found Mr. Chaker violated probation, and an appeal ensued.
Cato Institute stated, “Public officials are appropriate objects of criticism and the protection of their feelings is not the appropriate province of the courts. Chaker’s words don’t even rise to the standard that must be met to constitute defamation of a public figure. Chaker didn’t act with “actual malice” or reckless disregard for the truth when he published his blogpost, which is the mental requirement necessary to sustain such a charge.” The Electronic Frontier Foundationsaid the government’s position would, “eviscerate a half-century of First Amendment protection of political speech criticizing government officials.”
Probation conditions are typically tailored to protect the public from future crime not online comments one takes offense at or believes are defamatory. It is well established speech “may not be suppressed simply because it is offensive.” Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1199 (9th Cir. 1989). Mr. Chaker was never sued for defamation or harassment by Ms. Fazal.
The blog consisted of about 421 words. Only two words were found to be false – “forced out”.  No evidence was introduced the statement Mr. Chaker made was in fact false, or that Mr. Chaker knew the statement was false – hence actual malice. As page 27 of the opening brief states, “Without actual malice, the speech is protected by the First  Amendment — even if false and damaging to Fazal’s reputation.  See Alvarez, 132 S. Ct.  at 2550-51 (stating that when a false statement is made without actual malice, the best  remedy is not “handcuffs” but publication of “the simple truth”).”
Mr. Chaker is only one of 4,708,100 people are on probation or parole per a Bureau of Justice Statistics report. People under supervised release are not second class citizens where the First Amendment may be marginalized or discarded unless the speech are in an unprotected class – like true threats or inciting criminal conduct. For government to regulate speech, it must be “integral to criminal conduct.” United States v. Meredith, 685 F.3d 814, 819, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13012, 7, 2012-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) P50,421, 110 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 5157 (9th Cir. Cal. 2012) [case cited at page 28 of opening brief] In this case, two words “forced out” were found to be false and Mr. Chaker’s probation was ultimately revoked because of it. 

The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court finding Mr. Chaker violated his probation as no evidence of harassment or defamation was presented to the court."
The Ninth Circuits YouTube Channel is revealing how the court responded to the Governments argument, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMECNd143uc 

15:33 Judge Kozinski to AUSA “she [sentencing judge] did say I am not going to limit your [Chaker’s] First Amendment rights?” AUSA, “that’s correct your honor”;

20:08 Judge Kozinski told the AUSA to go back to her office and watch oral argument with her colleagues to be "properly embarrassed";

23:16 Judge Kozinski to ASUA - “You managed to bamboozle…I mean the United States, managed to fool the district judge imposing the condition…”;

26:31 Judge Kozinski, “It’s okay for the district court to say obey all laws...but this is not at all limited to criminal conduct…this is conduct that is not illegal…agree this is conduct that is not illegal?", reluctantly AUSA said "agreed that the condition reached conduct that is not illegal."


Related News and Press Releases 









#FreeSpeech #FreeSpeechRights #FreeSpeechCase #FirstAmendmentRights #BloggersRights

Friday, May 27, 2016

Defend the Free Speech Rights of all Activist Bloggers, Anti-Corruption Bloggers, Alternative Medicine Bloggers and Whistleblowers in every corner of the WORLD. They are the LIGHT. They are the Defenders of the Victims of Corruption and they are Changing the Entire WORLD for the BETTER. Stand up for those Bloggers. Start a Blog, EXPOSE Corruption, Report on the News to YOU. Post Videos and Documented Proof. You are ALL Media. #YouAreMedia #YouAreTheMedia #BloggersRights

Ongoing Case Citing Research Link

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=obsidian+finance+group,+llc+v.+cox&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiSnuKvn_vMAhUC12MKHXdhBjgQgQMIGjAA

"Bloggers entitled to same free speech protections as traditional journalists"

" Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Andrew Hurwitz issued an opinion in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. v. Cox.  His opening line was as follows:

“This case requires us to address a question of first impression: What First Amendment protections are afforded a blogger sued for defamation?”

This important new decision involved a blog post by blogger Crystal Cox, in which she accused a financial firm and its bankruptcy trustee of tax fraud.  At the trial court level, the judge rejected Cox’s First Amendment arguments concerning the liability standards that should govern the case, reasoning that she had “failed to submit evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist.”

However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, holding that:

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities…As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, A First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and others speakers is unworkable.”

The court then went on to quote some of the only rational language (in my opinion) from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:

“With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media…the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”

The Ninth Circuit ultimately held that Cox should get a new trial and the distinction between bloggers and traditional reports is irrelevant in this context.  
Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who represented Cox, noted the importance of this decision in the era of online content:

“In this day and age, with so much important stuff produced by people who are not professionals, it’s harder than ever to decide who is a member of the institutional press.”

So what are some of the other important takeaways for online commentators out there?

The court reaffirmed that opinions which employ “figurative and hyperbolic language” that cannot be proved as true or false are constitutionally protected.

Additionally, “while ‘pure’ opinions are protected by the First Amendment, a statement that ‘may imply a false assertion of fact’ is actionable.”  So while opinions are usually protected as free speech, if you are making a factual claim, you should be able to provide evidence to support your claim.  For example, if you write a review on Yelp that a restaurant charged your credit card $10 more than what you signed for on your receipt, then you should be able to support this claim with a copy of the receipt and your credit card billing statement.

However, regardless of what precautions someone takes, anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason, even if it’s entirely without merit.  Luckily for those of you in about half of the states, anti-SLAPP laws have been enacted to help you get those meritless suits dismissed relatively quickly and painlessly."

Source
http://www.casp.net/uncategorized/bloggers-entitled-to-same-free-speech-protections-as-traditional-journalists/

Citing on Page 11

https://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/cr319/319CR111.pdf

Freedom of the press

Defamation Citing
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minneapolis_Star_Tribune_Co._v._Commissioner

Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox Case Overview


Click Below to Read
http://www.dmlp.org/threats/obsidian-finance-group-v-cox

Monday, January 25, 2016

YES the First Amendment DOES apply to Anti-Corruption Bloggers, Citizen Journalists and Whistleblowers. Don't let a DIRTY Judge tell you any different. Stand UP for your RIGHTS.

"Bloggers enjoy First Amendment protection against libel suits

"A website that castigates others as “evil doers” and “thugs” has exactly the same First Amendment protection as USA TODAY and the New York Times – and that’s a good thing.

In a landmark decision on Friday, a federal appellate court held for the first time that blogs enjoy the same First Amendment protection from libel suits as traditional news media.

At issue were the blog posts of Crystal Cox, who accused Bend, Oregon attorney Kevin Padrick and his firm Obsidian Finance Group of misconduct in connection with his role as a trustee in a bankruptcy case. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million in damages.

But the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit saw things differently, deciding that Cox’s allegations were matters of public interest and to sue her successfully, Padrick would have to prove her negligence – the same standard that applies when news media are sued.

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist,” Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote.

While the Supreme Court has previously observed that the lines between traditional news media and native web content have become blurred, this makes the first time that federal appellate court has essentially said that journalists and bloggers are one and the same when it comes to the First Amendment.

But we already knew that. The purpose of the free press clause of the First Amendment was to keep an eye on people in power and maintain a check on corruption. Given the cutbacks in traditional media, bloggers have taken up the slack, serving as watchdogs with attitude.

And of course, traditional reporters now blog daily, and prominent bloggers show up in traditional media.

Yet we still see a condescending and uninformed attitude from some lawmakers and judges who seem not to understand that digital and social media deserve the same respect as newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.

There is still resistance to including bloggers in a federal shield law, and as recently as 2012 a federal court judge concluding that “liking” a Facebook page was not protected free speech, a flawed decision overturned in September.

Speech doesn’t get much more free than blogs and comments on websites, and long-established principles protecting opinion and hyperbole help to keep it that way. In this case, the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to toss out other libel claims against Cox, despite her assertions that her targets engaged in corruption, fraud, deceit, money laundering, harassment and illegal activity. She called them immoral “evil doers” and “thugs” and alleged that a hit man had been hired to kill her.

The appellate court concluded that Cox’s post were so outrageous that no one would take them seriously and these hyperbolic attacks couldn’t be the basis of a lawsuit. Apparently it also helps to name your site “obsidianfinancesucks.com.”

The decision in a nutshell: Bloggers saying libelous things about private citizens concerning  public matters can only be sued if they’re negligent, and if you do decide to attack someone online, make sure you go over the top.

Ironically, the federal court’s decision protecting bloggers was based on Gertz v. Welch, a landmark Supreme Court case now in its 40th anniversary year. In lieu of cake and candles, we have a brand new case applying the case’s landmark decision to the most contemporary of media.

As abusive and derisive as some bloggers may be, they’re direct descendants of the first generation of Americans, who used pamphlets and politically-driven newspapers to attack their political rivals.  It was then that the nation’s founders ratified the First Amendment, paving the way for robust discussion of public issues, regardless of medium. That’s something worth celebrating."

Source
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/bloggers-enjoy-first-amendment-protection-against-libel-suits

The Crystal Cox Case is a Landmark Decision and it is a Game Changer for all New Media.

"Bloggers Gain First Amendment Victories But Still Face Issues in Online Journalism

Bloggers achieved a significant victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on Jan. 17, 2014 that First Amendment protections in defamation lawsuits extend to bloggers. 

In April 2014, a Florida appellate court held that bloggers were entitled to pre-suit notices for defamation suits under Florida law. Although the victories are welcome news to online content producers everywhere, the jailing of an Alabama blogger has raised questions and concerns among free speech advocates. Online speakers may still have obstacles to overcome before courts fully recognize that First Amendment protections apply to them.

Ninth Circuit Recognizes First Amendment Protections for Bloggers

On Jan. 17, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that bloggers receive the same First Amendment protections as institutional media in defamation lawsuits. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284 (9th Cir. 2014).

The case involved a dispute between Kevin Padrick, a principal with Obsidian Finance, a firm that advises financially troubled businesses, and Crystal Cox, a self-described investigative blogger. In 2008, Obsidian began working with Summit Accommodators, which was considering filing for bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy court appointed Padrick as Chapter 11 trustee once Summit filed reorganization paperwork. Shortly thereafter, Cox began posting accusations of criminal activity carried out by Padrick and Obsidian in their work with the Summit bankruptcy on several different websites, including “obsidianfinancesucks.com.” After sending a cease-and-desist letter that Cox did not comply with, Padrick and Obsidian filed a defamation suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

The district court held that only one blog post could be interpreted as containing a statement of fact, and could proceed to trial. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1220 (D. Or. 2011).

The remaining blog posts were considered constitutionally protected opinions because they did not contain provable statements of fact. Cox also claimed protection under Oregon’s journalist’s shield law, but District Judge Marco A. Hernandez held that she did not meet the definitions of who can receive protection as laid out by the state statute. (For more information on Cox’s shield law claims, see “Defamation Lawsuits Pose Threat to Journalists as Online Communication Complicates First Amendment Analysis” in the Spring 2012 issue of the Silha Bulletin).

Cox also made First Amendment arguments that the liability standards should be governed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc, 418 U.S. 323 (1974). In Gertz, the Supreme Court held that a private plaintiff needs to show only negligence to recover actual damages from a media defendant.

But a plaintiff can only recover presumed or punitive damages upon a showing that a media defendant acted with “actual malice,” meaning that the statements were made with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of the truth. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. Cox argued that, under Gertz, Padrick and Obsidian carried the burden of proving her negligence in order to recover actual damages for defamation.

Cox also argued that Padrick and Obsidian must show that she acted with actual malice to receive presumed damages. Judge Hernandez dismissed these arguments, stating that Cox had not proven that she was a journalist. Therefore, the protections of Gertz did not apply to her.

Cox also contended that Padrick and Obsidian were public figures. Under the New York Times v. Sullivan and the Gertz rulings, public figures are required to prove actual malice before they may recover any type of damages. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). The district court judge once again dismissed this argument, stating that Padrick and Obsidian had not made themselves public figures by becoming involved with a public controversy. Rather, Cox had created the controversy.

At the conclusion of the trial, a jury returned verdicts in favor of Padrick and Obsidian. Cox moved for a new trial, which the district court denied. Cox then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the district court had ruled incorrectly on the liability standards and Padrick’s and Obsidian’s public figure status. Padrick and Obsidian filed a cross-appeal contending that the jury should have considered their defamation claims relating to the other blog posts.

In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court’s judgment against Cox. The court held that Gertz’s liability rules were not limited only to situations that involved traditional media defendants. The opinion by Judge Andrew Hurwitz explained that although the Supreme Court has never ruled that the Gertz standard applied to others besides institutional media, the Court’s language in the opinion also did not limit the ruling to institutional media alone. Hurwitz wrote, “[the Supreme Court] has repeatedly refused in non-defamation contexts to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers,” citing several cases in which the high court declined to create a distinction between members of the press and the general public.

As a result, the court agreed with other circuits that “the First Amendment defamation rules in Sullivan and its progeny apply equally to the institutional press and individual speakers.” The court also noted that trying to create a distinction between institutional media and other communicators was very difficult.

Therefore, the court said that the key First Amendment factor under Gertz in defamation cases was not the identity of the speaker. Rather, “the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue” are the key First Amendment considerations. Through this rationale, Cox, as a blogger, was entitled to the same liability standards that traditional forms of media received under the First Amendment.

In addition to determining that Sullivan and Gertz protections apply to the general public, the appeals court also rejected the argument that Gertz was limited to defamation cases involving matters of public concern. Hurwitz wrote that even if Gertz was limited to such a situation, Cox’s blog posts concerned public matters qualifying for protection.  However, the appellate court rejected Cox’s argument that Padrick and Obsidian became public officials because a bankruptcy court appointed them to oversee Summit’s affairs and provided compensation to them. The court also held that Cox’s remaining blog posts were clearly opinions. The panel concluded its decision by granting Cox’s request for a new trial.

Several First Amendment advocates and advocacy organizations praised the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox during the appeals process, told Associated Press reporter Jeff Barnard for a Jan. 17, 2014 article that the decision “makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists.” 

Volokh also noted that the decision followed similar court rulings that granted First Amendment protections to other writers and book authors, although this ruling appeared to be the first to grant protection to bloggers. In the same article, Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), said the ruling confirmed the fact that Gertz was “not a special right to the news media.” Rather, it applied to everyone. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others,” Leslie said.

In a Jan. 24, 2014 commentary, First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson called the Ninth Circuit’s ruling a “landmark decision.” Paulson noted that given the growing financial constraints on traditional news media, many bloggers had taken on the role of the watchdog of people with power. The Ninth Circuit’s holding that bloggers deserve the same protections as traditional media was “something worth celebrating.” 

On the same day, Jim Rosenfeld, Ambika K. Doran and Jeremy A. Chase, attorneys with the firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, called the decision “a major win for individuals who blog, share, tweet, and otherwise publish their views online.” 

The attorneys explained that the panel’s language provided First Amendment protections to all speakers regardless of affiliation with institutional media.

As a result, the attorneys said, “an individual blogger, website operator or social media users speaking publicly on the Internet enjoy the same First Amendment protections from defamation claims as traditional media publishers.”

Nevertheless, some observers have noted that the case may not be a total victory. In a Jan. 17, 2014 post, Digital Media Law Project director Jeff Hermes wrote that although the court rightly decided the case, he was concerned that the court’s statements seemed to suggest that the reason Cox’s speech was protected in some blog posts was because few people could reasonably believe that content on blogs.

Hermes wrote that such assumptions about online content could devalue factual speech in the name of protecting it. “Respecting speech means evaluating it on its merits, instead of assuming that it has none,” he said."

Source
http://silha.umn.edu/news/WinterSpring2014/SILHACENTERBloggersFirstAmendmentUniversityofMinnesota.html

“The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities,”

"Blogger Crystal Cox Wins Her Right Under the First Amendment To Post Her Opinions About Obsidian Finance Group

"A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web. “The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities,” Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals....The case was brought by Obsidian Finance Group and one of its principals, Kevin D. Padrick. Writing on several websites she created, blogger Crystal Cox accused them of fraud, corruption and other misconduct."

"SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web.

“The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities,” Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel said its holding was the first of its kind within the 9th Circuit but that other circuit courts already have extended protections for journalists to individual speakers."

Source and Full Article
http://parentadvocates.org/nicecontent/dsp_printable.cfm?articleID=8583


Keep in mind that Crystal Cox never had criminal charges or a criminal investigation of any kind. Crystal Cox did NOT have a history of seeking a payoff. These words of the Ninth Circuit Judges were based on the "opinion" of a New York Times reporter.  And not based in Fact nor in the record of the lower court trial of which Ninth Circuit Judges are to get "Record" for Ninth Circuit Appeals.

You are NOW All Media as a Matter of Law. Report on Corruption and Unethical Behavior in your area, your courts, your Judges, your cops, and corporations. Provide links to documents of fact, videos, depositions, audios. BLOW the Proverbial Whistle.



You are now Media as of a Matter of Law Due to the Crystal Cox Case. So, start a blog, tell your story, report the news in your town, area of expertise or news you know.

"Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes

So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment. To quote the court,
"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones."
I think that’s right, not just as a matter of First Amendment principle but also as a matter of history and precedent (as I documented at length in Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012)). The specific legal issue that the Ninth Circuit was confronting in this passage, by the way, is whether all who speak to the public are equally protected by the Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. rules, which are that
  1. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern must prove that the defendant was negligent about the falsity of the statement, and
  2. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern and seeking presumed or punitive damages (as opposed to identifiable compensatory damages) must prove that the defendant knew that the statement was false or recklessly disregarded the possibility that it was false.
But the court’s reasoning reaches the First Amendment more broadly, and correctly so (again, see the Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? article, which sets out the historical evidence). Note, though, that the court’s reasoning is limited to First Amendment protections; it doesn’t discuss state or federal statutes that provide extra protection to the “media” or to other subsets of speakers."
Source
http://volokh.com/2014/01/17/bloggers-media-first-amendment-libel-law-purposes/

Obsidian v. Cox ~ Ninth Circuit Blogger First Amendment Case


The Crystal Cox Case is a Game Changer. NOW you are MEDIA as a Matter of Law and Higher Court Precedence.

"What the Crystal Cox case means for digital media

The case, which threatened to turn a great deal of business journalism into a crime, made its way to the California Court of Appeals. In 2006, the court ruled against Apple and for the websites. Journalism was also a winner.


That affair came to mind this week when a federal judge in Oregon, ruling in a libel case, came to a different conclusion. In deciding that blogger Crystal Cox's blistering attack on an investment firm and its co-founder was defamatory, he said she was not a journalist and therefore could not keep her source's identity secret under that state's shield law. Even if she had met that standard, he wrote, she'd still have had to divulge the identity of her source for the post.

In reaching that conclusion, the judge relied on wording in the law that makes no mention of digital media. And, following a laundry list of what he considered acceptable journalistic credentials and practices, he concluded she met none of his criteria and therefore was not part of the news media."

Source  and Full Article
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/08/crystal-cox-case-digital-media

BLOGS are MEDIA. And Bloggers NOW have Equal Rights as a Matter of Law because of the Crystal Cox Case Ninth Circuit Win.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

JOURNALISM AND SHIELD LAWS: WHEN THE “WHO” CEASES TO MATTER

"Shield Laws: “legal rules which protect journalists against the government requiring them to reveal confidential sources or other information.” (SPJ, http://www.spj.org/shieldlaw-faq.asp)

The question on who should be considered a journalist with regards to shield laws is an important one, but one that derives from the presupposition that the comprehension of the meaning of “journalist” is necessary to understand the subjects and scope of shield norms. Though these laws were originally intended and designed to protect journalists, their configuration and construction raises an important question: Why only “journalists”? If shield laws provide special protection under the idea that by doing so they protect the free flow of information, how free is that flow if only some are allowed to affect it under protection? It would seem that the free flow of information would demand, due to its own nature, that protection is not a selective offer of the Law, but a democratized right, that distinguishes not on who (subjective criterion) has access to it but on why (objective criterion).

A different -yet related- question, takes us to similar answers. If we would approach the question “who is a journalist”, with the intention of defining who is protected by shield laws, the search for an answer would probably take us to an ever-broadening concept.

Immersed in this digital age, in the days of micro-blogging, online magazines, and social media, we can hardly tell the difference between a “journalist” and a person who blogs about certain issues and has investigated and revealed important information… whether that person should (or should not) be shielded by the law with regards to source disclosure.

Judicial decisions have also been shifting away from the traditional idea of the shield law subjects. Hence, though some jurisdictions (i.e. the District of Oregon) have defined shield law beneficiaries with a traditional outlook limiting it to professionals with a degree in journalism or people associated to a news outlet (United States District Court for the District of Oregon in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC  v. Cox), increasingly, others have presented a less orthodox approach, a more inclusive notion that also encompasses bloggers without these professional backgrounds.

As the New Hampshire Supreme Court declared, “freedom of the press is a fundamental personal right which is not confined to newspapers and periodicals.” (The Mortgage Specialist, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.)

Therefore, the need to define who is or is not a journalist, with relation to shield laws, has been diminishing. Today, the question is more often “Why do shield laws beneficiaries have to fit a category (i.e.: journalists), that by doing what categories do, excludes?” and “Who can really tell who is definitively and fixedly not a journalist (or a potential journalist) in this digital age? ”

Source
http://thesocialsciencepost.com/en/2016/01/journalism-and-shield-laws-when-the-who-ceases-to-matter/

Grosjean v. American Press Co. - Obsidian v. Cox Citing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grosjean_v._American_Press_Co.

Journal of Media Law - Obsidian v. Cox case cited

Journal of Media Law

Volume 7, Issue 2, 2015
Special Issue:   Privacy Law Ten Years after Campbell


Click Below to Read

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17577632.2015.1111552

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,"

""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."

Source
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-blogger-ruling-idUSBREA0G1HI20140117

the Opposition in the above case paint Defendant / Investigative Blogger Crystal Cox in false light, they spread the story that Cox sought money for a retraction, and they spread a piece of a settlement negotiation to fake their claims. Cox NEVER received money to remove any of her anti-corruption blog posts.


Yes First case of it's Kind. Landmark case. NO Crystal Cox had NO history of seeking payoff for retractions. NOT one. Not Ever.

"a
Appeals court overturns defamation award against blogger
A panel of 9th Circuit judges rules that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment protections as traditional news media.
January 17, 2014|By Maura Dolan
Email
Share

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web.

"The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities," Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel said its holding was the first of its kind within the 9th Circuit, though other circuit courts have held that individuals have the same free speech rights as the news media.

"This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers," said UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented blogger Crystal Cox on appeal."

Source
http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/17/local/la-me-blogger-1st-amendment-20140118

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blogs everywhere us the Crystal Cox Case as protection to report the news and speak out; check out the disclaimer on this blog

http://mensrightsofarizona.blogspot.com/2015/10/looking-for-men-and-women-to-appear-on.html

"All Rights Strictly Enforced Under Federal Law!

This blog and all other print publications by this author and the Men's Rights Group of Arizona LLC is a form of journalism and protected freedom of speech as described in case law: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Obsidian Finance Group LLC and Kevin Padrick v. Crystal Cox 12-35238. All Rights Will Be Strictly Enforced!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Investigative Blogger Crystal Cox makes HISTORY and set's landmark precedent.

"

Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes

So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment. To quote the court,
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
I think that’s right, not just as a matter of First Amendment principle but also as a matter of history and precedent (as I documented at length in Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012)). The specific legal issue that the Ninth Circuit was confronting in this passage, by the way, is whether all who speak to the public are equally protected by the Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. rules, which are that"
Source and Full Article

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Crystal Cox Case is a Landmark Decision and it is a Game Changer for all New Media.

"Bloggers Gain First Amendment Victories But Still Face Issues in Online Journalism

Bloggers achieved a significant victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on Jan. 17, 2014 that First Amendment protections in defamation lawsuits extend to bloggers. In April 2014, a Florida appellate court held that bloggers were entitled to pre-suit notices for defamation suits under Florida law. Although the victories are welcome news to online content producers everywhere, the jailing of an Alabama blogger has raised questions and concerns among free speech advocates. Online speakers may still have obstacles to overcome before courts fully recognize that First Amendment protections apply to them.
Ninth Circuit Recognizes First Amendment Protections for Bloggers
On Jan. 17, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that bloggers receive the same First Amendment protections as institutional media in defamation lawsuits. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284 (9th Cir. 2014).
The case involved a dispute between Kevin Padrick, a principal with Obsidian Finance, a firm that advises financially troubled businesses, and Crystal Cox, a self-described investigative blogger. In 2008, Obsidian began working with Summit Accommodators, which was considering filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy court appointed Padrick as Chapter 11 trustee once Summit filed reorganization paperwork. Shortly thereafter, Cox began posting accusations of criminal activity carried out by Padrick and Obsidian in their work with the Summit bankruptcy on several different websites, including “obsidianfinancesucks.com.” After sending a cease-and-desist letter that Cox did not comply with, Padrick and Obsidian filed a defamation suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.
The district court held that only one blog post could be interpreted as containing a statement of fact, and could proceed to trial. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1220 (D. Or. 2011). The remaining blog posts were considered constitutionally protected opinions because they did not contain provable statements of fact. Cox also claimed protection under Oregon’s journalist’s shield law, but District Judge Marco A. Hernandez held that she did not meet the definitions of who can receive protection as laid out by the state statute. (For more information on Cox’s shield law claims, see “Defamation Lawsuits Pose Threat to Journalists as Online Communication Complicates First Amendment Analysis” in the Spring 2012 issue of the Silha Bulletin).
Cox also made First Amendment arguments that the liability standards should be governed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc, 418 U.S. 323 (1974). In Gertz, the Supreme Court held that a private plaintiff needs to show only negligence to recover actual damages from a media defendant. But a plaintiff can only recover presumed or punitive damages upon a showing that a media defendant acted with “actual malice,” meaning that the statements were made with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of the truth. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. Cox argued that, under Gertz, Padrick and Obsidian carried the burden of proving her negligence in order to recover actual damages for defamation. Cox also argued that Padrick and Obsidian must show that she acted with actual malice to receive presumed damages. Judge Hernandez dismissed these arguments, stating that Cox had not proven that she was a journalist. Therefore, the protections of Gertz did not apply to her.
Cox also contended that Padrick and Obsidian were public figures. Under the New York Times v. Sullivan and the Gertz rulings, public figures are required to prove actual malice before they may recover any type of damages. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). The district court judge once again dismissed this argument, stating that Padrick and Obsidian had not made themselves public figures by becoming involved with a public controversy. Rather, Cox had created the controversy.
At the conclusion of the trial, a jury returned verdicts in favor of Padrick and Obsidian. Cox moved for a new trial, which the district court denied. Cox then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the district court had ruled incorrectly on the liability standards and Padrick’s and Obsidian’s public figure status. Padrick and Obsidian filed a cross-appeal contending that the jury should have considered their defamation claims relating to the other blog posts.
In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court’s judgment against Cox. The court held that Gertz’s liability rules were not limited only to situations that involved traditional media defendants. The opinion by Judge Andrew Hurwitz explained that although the Supreme Court has never ruled that the Gertz standard applied to others besides institutional media, the Court’s language in the opinion also did not limit the ruling to institutional media alone. Hurwitz wrote, “[the Supreme Court] has repeatedly refused in non-defamation contexts to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers,” citing several cases in which the high court declined to create a distinction between members of the press and the general public.
As a result, the court agreed with other circuits that “the First Amendment defamation rules in Sullivan and its progeny apply equally to the institutional press and individual speakers.” The court also noted that trying to create a distinction between institutional media and other communicators was very difficult. Therefore, the court said that the key First Amendment factor under Gertz in defamation cases was not the identity of the speaker. Rather, “the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue” are the key First Amendment considerations. Through this rationale, Cox, as a blogger, was entitled to the same liability standards that traditional forms of media received under the First Amendment.
In addition to determining that Sullivan and Gertz protections apply to the general public, the appeals court also rejected the argument that Gertz was limited to defamation cases involving matters of public concern. Hurwitz wrote that even if Gertz was limited to such a situation, Cox’s blog posts concerned public matters qualifying for protection.  However, the appellate court rejected Cox’s argument that Padrick and Obsidian became public officials because a bankruptcy court appointed them to oversee Summit’s affairs and provided compensation to them. The court also held that Cox’s remaining blog posts were clearly opinions. The panel concluded its decision by granting Cox’s request for a new trial.
Several First Amendment advocates and advocacy organizations praised the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox during the appeals process, told Associated Press reporter Jeff Barnard for a Jan. 17, 2014 article that the decision “makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists.” Volokh also noted that the decision followed similar court rulings that granted First Amendment protections to other writers and book authors, although this ruling appeared to be the first to grant protection to bloggers. In the same article, Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), said the ruling confirmed the fact that Gertz was “not a special right to the news media.” Rather, it applied to everyone. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others,” Leslie said.

In a Jan. 24, 2014 commentary, First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson called the Ninth Circuit’s ruling a “landmark decision.” Paulson noted that given the growing financial constraints on traditional news media, many bloggers had taken on the role of the watchdog of people with power. The Ninth Circuit’s holding that bloggers deserve the same protections as traditional media was “something worth celebrating.” 

On the same day, Jim Rosenfeld, Ambika K. Doran and Jeremy A. Chase, attorneys with the firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, called the decision “a major win for individuals who blog, share, tweet, and otherwise publish their views online.” 

The attorneys explained that the panel’s language provided First Amendment protections to all speakers regardless of affiliation with institutional media.

As a result, the attorneys said, “an individual blogger, website operator or social media users speaking publicly on the Internet enjoy the same First Amendment protections from defamation claims as traditional media publishers.”

Nevertheless, some observers have noted that the case may not be a total victory. In a Jan. 17, 2014 post, Digital Media Law Project director Jeff Hermes wrote that although the court rightly decided the case, he was concerned that the court’s statements seemed to suggest that the reason Cox’s speech was protected in some blog posts was because few people could reasonably believe that content on blogs.

Hermes wrote that such assumptions about online content could devalue factual speech in the name of protecting it. “Respecting speech means evaluating it on its merits, instead of assuming that it has none,” he said."

Source
http://silha.umn.edu/news/WinterSpring2014/SILHACENTERBloggersFirstAmendmentUniversityofMinnesota.html